"It would be difficult to find a working environment quite like this"
Though ITER site preparations have only just started, some people have been with the project for 15 years...which gives an interesting perspective of how long it has taken to get ITER from its conceptual phase to an emerging reality.
When Doris Spiegel, Assistant to Project Deputy Director-General Norbert Holtkamp, joined ITER in Garching in 1993, little did she expect that she would become so fond of working in a multi-cultural environment, that it would ultimately make her move in 2006 from her home city Munich to sunny Aix-en-Provence, where she now feels quite at home. Doris is so much part of ITER and now Provence, that she even adopted her cat, Eddy, during last year's ITER summer party.
When she left high school, Doris' area of predilection was literature rather than science. She became fascinated by Japanese literature and history after reading the Tale of Genji, an 11th century Japanese novel.
She studied Japanology to become a Japanese literature translator, but it didn't work out that way. After having worked as a translator and then for a Japanese company for a short while, Doris joined NET (Next European Torus) as a multi-lingual secretary in Garching in 1989 and then ITER in 1993.
And although she doesn't practise her Japanese on a daily basis anymore it has remained the thread through her career. So has the cultural diversity which is so characteristic of ITER. "What I enjoy most in working for ITER is the mix of nationalities, languages and cultures, all working together to build this amazing machine," says Doris, "This is what makes ITER unique, and I think it would be difficult to find a working environment quite like this anywhere else."
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