Three months have passed since I last published a blog post – in the meantime I finished my 11-month placement in Dublin and am back in sunny Munich! I can imagine that there are many of you who don’t know whether to do a placement or not, especially because it does not really exist in Germany in the way we have it at some universities in the UK . I’ve already written about placement in general and how the application works. That’s why I wanted to give you a very personal opinion and write a summary post about my placement Ireland.
I did my placement in a Biochemistry research group within Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. I was super exited to have the opportunity to live in a different country again for a year, but not be too far away from friends and family in the UK and Germany. My placement started in early July, so I only had two weeks after the exams in June to pack my life into a suitcase and move to Dublin. And retrospectively, I can say that this placement year has definitely been one of the most challenging things I have ever done for a number of reasons.
First of all, finding a place to live and settling in in Dublin turned out to be quite difficult. Housing in Dublin is very limited and the number of students looking for an apartment is extremely high. I tried to find a place with the other placement student before moving there, but unfortunately we were pretty unlucky and had to realize how many apartment scams there are in Dublin. After finally finding a place for the first two months, I started my placement in July. The semester, however, didn’t start until September so at the start it was a bit difficult to meet people outside of the lab. But in August I finally moved into a new place and met a few super nice people! In summary, I learned so much from this experience including being a lot more independent and smarter about the entire process of moving to a new place. I’m so glad now that I chose to do an international placement. Ireland is a wonderful place and I had so much time to explore and get to know the country and the culture. The Irish are honestly some of the best people I’ve met and I’ve made some amazing friends. Trinity is also a great university with lots of societies and sports clubs. I decided to join the squash club during my time on placement, which was a great way to balance work.
Placement itself was an even bigger challenge. Officially, we were “Visiting Research Students”, but we had our own projects and worked very independently, so our role was more comparable to a PhD project. We were treated just like every other member of the lab and went through the same schedule of writing and defending weekly reports and presenting to the group. For this exact reason, I feel like I learnt so much from this experience. I grew so much professionally and personally and feel like I am much more prepared for graduate education and future jobs. You get a really good insight into one possible job, which helps so much when it comes to deciding what you want to do after university. Personally, I did really like working in an academic research group. I really value the international aspect of academic research and the independence and freedom when it comes to choosing research projects. But in the end placement also motivated me to explore other career options, such as the biotechnology industry. I’m currently doing a summer internship at a Biotech-StartUp and although its a completely different environment, I can apply so many of the skills I learnt on placement.
All in all, placement was such a good experience and I would definitely recommend taking advantage of this scheme if it’s offered at your university. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions:)
Have a wonderful day!