After finishing my degree I knew that I would still feel partly lost and confused as to what I wanted to do next, be it trying to find a job or continue on to study at the Master’s level. Seeing that I had nothing to lose, I applied for an internship with IAESTE simply to postpone this dilemma – a decision I centrally will never regret. My IAESTE experience proved to be much more enriching, eventful and amazing than I would have ever imagined, an experience which made me get out of my comfort zone and further develop my character.
The internship I applied for was for the position of a Research Assistant in a laboratory at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where I was to work on yeast genetics. After being accepted, I was notified by the IAESTE UK committee that I had to find my own accommodation, something which I initially found very hard to do. However through the various links provided in a helpful guide by IAESTE UK, I eventually found a room in a flat located in the center of St. Andrews, which I was lucky to later find out to be practically 5 minutes away from work. On my arrival at Edinburgh airport I was greeted by Martin, a member of the IAESTE UK committee, who was kind enough to give me a lift to St. Andrews and help me get sorted out at my flat. My first day was a very long and trying so I simply decided to go to sleep.
Seeing that I had 2 free days before starting work, the following day I explored the beautiful town of St. Andrews. The sudden realization of independence was both empowering and frightening. The people in St. Andrews were all very friendly which really helped me to settle in quickly. In the evening I met with Martin and the other IAESTE trainees in St. Andrews and we went bar hopping, since pubs are a big thing in St. Andrews.
The day I started work I met with Dr. Smith, my supervisor, who was very friendly and kind enough to show me around the department and her lab. During the week I would work from 8 am up till 5 pm. Work was very interesting and I am very thankful for Sr. Smith for having taught me so much during my stay. In the weekends I attended a variety of activities that were organized by IAESTE UK for the trainees in different parts of Scotland where I had the opportunity to meet some great people. These activities were a great part of the IAESTE experience as they not only enabled me to meet new people but through it I visited some of the most beautiful places in Scotland.
After my 2 month work period was over I returned to Malta. After coming back you realize that you have changed, ever so slightly. This experience has allowed me to make new friends, connections, gain new skills and above all, gain different outlooks to life which I would have never appreciated before. I thank IAESTE Malta and IAESTE UK for this wonderful experience and I truly recommend it. My advice is to go for it and to try to leave behind the fear of the unknown and enjoy the journey.