02 // 2013
3 – What kind of skills did you develop? What were the main benefits you had by working abroad? Did this experience increase your employment prospects? The internship project was an “as-wego” project, meaning that we developed a strategy based on the laboratory findings. Not only did I learn the work skills and how to manage my time, but also how to connect procedures, what to look out for, which points to prioritise. My practical laboratory skills grew much more than I would have anticipated.
// Hours and hours of filtering – the first step of my experiments
The laboratory environment was very international, and we were encouraged to discuss challenges across team borders. I got to know people from all over the world while learning the tricks and tweaks of procedures I had only known theoretically, and also was granted glimpses into Indian, Chinese, Polish, Russian, and Persian, culture, economics, politics, and education. It taught me that communication is key, in all aspects of life. My internship project was later published, with my name among the other authors my colleagues and supervisors. I hope at least that publication will improve my employment prospects, if all those softer skills don’t! 4 - Did you have any difficulties or what were the main drawbacks in a country you didn’t know before? (Cultural differences, budgetary issues, language…) Since I had lived there before, I knew what I was getting myself into, for daily life. But of course money was a big issue, as well as safety, and legal issues. On my second weekend there, someone got fatally shot at the bus station I usually used after work. I was very scared by that, so I killed my savings account and bought a car. Which brought a whole set of new issues onto my plate! But mainly, I would say staying yourself while taking everything in is a challenge. Especially if your friends complain that your grammar (of your mother tongue) is going whack, and you generally can’t be reached because you’re either busy or asleep. Of course homesickness is also an issue, as is knowing that your time there is limited. 5 – What kind of advice would you give to engineering students and young professionals wishing to study or work abroad? What do you remember best from your journey? If you get the chance – do it. If you don’t get the chance - create one! Even if things in advance aren’t set up ideally, and make you doubt whether you should do it – once