Twenty Years of Eriksholm Summer Camp

Over four days, camp participants attend lectures by researchers, engineers and bright minds from the audiological world.

It is 5AM on a Sunday morning, when I slip off the meeting room sofa that – for tonight - doubles as a bed, and take a walk around the campgrounds.

Of the 68 participants and 8 crewmembers, most are sound asleep in their tents. All that remains of the 2017 Eriksholm Summer Camp, is a huddled group of some ten people, faces lit up by the campfire in their midst. Marshmallows toast over open fire, and the group is chatting and laughing without halt. In a few hours, the summer camp is officially over for this year, and our guests are making the most of the final moments. The participants - and the sole crewmember among them - inform me, that they intend to stay up and watch the sunrise.

Such was the last night of this year’s summer camp, which marked the 20th anniversary since its inception, when Horst Warncke of Oticon Germany organized the very first Eriksholm Summer Camp in 1997. Oticon organizes the camp, the Oticon Foundation sponsors it, and Eriksholm Research Centre hosts it. The camp aims to bring together young audiologists from around the world, to facilitate the exchange of ideas and practices. It aims to stimulate networking, and to give the future of audiology a peek behind the curtains at our research and the impact of our work. 

Over four days, from Wednesday through Saturday, camp participants attend lectures by researchers, engineers and bright minds from all corners of the audiological world. They get hands-on experience through workshops and interactive demonstrations. They grow, both as people and as audiologists, alongside the best and brightest of their industry.

“It is an amazing country, and an amazing camp,” says Ben De Farias from New Zealand, who graduated just six months ago, and is now working as a clinical audiologist in a private practice. “You grow up thinking about doing audiology, so it is really rewarding to see people doing the same thing around the world, with the same passion.” 

Ben turned 27 on Friday, and got to celebrate his birthday here in Denmark. The group went to a street food market in Copenhagen, took a boat ride around the city, and had a wonderful time before returning to Eriksholm. That was a good birthday, he tells me, as he and Ada Lo from Hong Kong enjoy the view from the Eriksholm castle’s observation tower. Ada has been working in audiology for a few years, but does not at all feel overqualified for the camp.

“You know, it is amazing to see how people do their jobs around the world. Every country has a slightly different fitting process, a different approach to patients, so you learn so much about how others do their job, and how you do your own,” she says.

Ada dreams of one day working in a position where she can do both clinical work and research. Ben, on the other hand, has fallen in love with cochlear implants. He hopes to do research in CI technology, and provide an even better life experience for those who need it. He is not quite sure where yet, but as he says, there is enough time to find out. 

It is 6AM. The bus for Copenhagen airport departs in four hours. It has been four days full of new experiences, new learning, and many new acquaintances for the everyone. Huddled around the campfire I find the same ten people I saw an hour before, eyes peeled on the horizon. The sun has risen, but – they tell me with a hint of disappointment – it is too cloudy to see anything. People are getting tired, and most of them are getting ready to pack up and go. Many are still sleeping, not expecting to wake up for another hour or two. They say their goodnights, and scuffle off for a few hours of sleep before departure. We can guarantee many things at Eriksholm Summer Camp: Great experiences, new friends, challenging workshops and engaging lectures. We cannot guarantee great weather.

Maybe next year.

The Eriksholm Summer Camp is organized by Oticon; sponsored by The Oticon Foundation; and hosted by Eriksholm Research Centre, part of Oticon.