Each academic year starts with the annual MEME summer school, which takes place at various locations in the third week of August. All MEME students have to participate in two editions of the summer school, but most students decide to participate in all three (at the start of their MSc, between the two MEME years, and at the end of their MSc). The MEME summer school is an ideal opportunity to reunite with the students of your own cohort, to meet students from the other cohorts, and to interact with the coordinators of the MEME programme and other scholars.
The MEME summer school is largely organized by students of the second MEME cohort. A typical summer school includes an introduction to MEME for the new cohort (1 day), a scientific symposium (2 days), an excursion (1 day), and a graduation ceremony followed by a party. For students of the new cohort, the summer school provides useful information on the MEME programme and the five partner universities – both from the perspective of the local coordinators and from the perspective of ‘senior’ students.
Aspects like housing, public transportation, facilities, sports, student life, ‘must-see’ places, etc. are covered in detail. Students of the second cohort meet with the MEME coordinators to evaluate their first year and to make suggestions for further improving the programme. Graduating MEME students (at the end of their second year) get the opportunity to present one of their research projects, giving the other cohorts an impression of the diversity of research topics in evolutionary biology and the knowledge, skills and expertise MEME students acquire within a two-year period. There is also an evaluation session with the graduating cohort of MEME students. Most important, however, is the graduation ceremony, where the achievements of the graduating students are recognized in short speech of their mentor.