Science thrives on creative ideas, unconventional approaches and flexible pattern of thoughts. Nothing prompts creativity stronger than the unexpected – triggered for example by changing from a familiar to an alien environment. Ten percent of the approximately 1.100 HZDR employees are foreigners, who chose to live and work in Dresden. At the same time many HZDR scientists research at foreign universities and facilities. In this blog they talk about their experiences with the unknown environment and what effect it had on their research.