National University of Ireland, Galway
I, Sophia, born in Munich, Germany, completed my undergraduate degree at the Paris Lodron University in Salzburg, Austria, in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science. As part of my studies I spent my second year at NUI Galway as an Erasmus student.
After completing my Bachelor Degree I returned to Galway to do a year long internship funded by the National Agency for Lifelong Learning OEAD for a company called Assessment Innovation (AI). As a member of the development team I worked on the development of a set of assessments of basic and occupational cognition for managers, focusing on critical thinking and leadership skills. Other areas covered were social cognition and self-efficacy.
The topic of Critical Thinking was what I spent most of my time on during the internship. I developed a set of scenarios including questions as a critical thinking assessment, aiming at assessing middle managers of international companies. It captivated me to do research on the topic and when I decided to commence a Ph.D. I was sure critical thinking should be my main focus.
The combination with bilingualism originates from my own personal interest and my fascination with languages. My mother tongue is German, I have learned French at school, Spanish at a summer school, and English since I was 11. The differences and similarities between languages and cultures amaze me and I love being able to make this part of my study.
The network I am working in at the moment seems to be ideal for this research, situated in Galway, in the centre of the Gaeltacht, where the Irish language is prevalent like nowhere else. I have also established connections to Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and Technical University Kaiserslautern in Germany and to researchers in Japan, who I have worked with in the past, for example when I spent two months as a visiting researcher at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan last year.