Jean Paul in Czech Republic

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As a student who had just started my final year it was still unclear what I wanted to do once I graduated, a Masters, a PhD, start working? but in what field and where? I only knew one thing for sure, that I wanted to do something new and to break out of the everyday routine, university life had become. Having always wanted to work or study abroad once I finished my studies I though an IAESTE traineeship would serve as a good change of environment before I headed forward in my academic career in Malta or abroad. Some time passed but I always kept looking out for when IAESTE would launch their internships and surely so, in the middle of the year or so they did. After attending to an introductory session by the IAESTE.Malta executive I thought long and hard about choosing the location and field of my internship. It was not an easy choice as there were a number of interesting countries however one internship was city was standing out, Prague. I always wanted to visit central Europe, and I though Prague would be ideal due to its central location, low cost of living but mostly its impeccable views. Looking back at this experience, I can confirm so; the fact that the internship would fit my study schedule and was in a field similar to my final year project was merely an added bonus.

Finally the day had come, and after saluting my friends at the airport I headed for my two month adventure in Prague. I made it to the airport where I met Klara an IAESTE member responsible for picking up students at the Airport, after a long journey from the airport to the hostel we sorted out the accommodation and I went out and around in Prague at night. Luckily the people in Prague were very nice and I easily made my way to the Prague castle from the city centre where a spectacular view of the whole city at night greeted and from there I knew that I was going to enjoy the rest of my adventure quite a lot. For the rest of the week that followed I went around in Prague, taking photos and admiring the magnificent architecture and views, I had purposefully booked a few day before the start of my work in order to be able to go around Prague properly and not just see the main tourist attractions but also to experience a good taste of the Czech culture.

The first thing I learnt is that Prague is very easy to navigate, it is similar to our capital Valetta in some ways but very different in other ways. The second thing I learnt was that beer is cheap, very cheap, in fact in some places it’s cheaper than water, in fact Prague is known as the beer capital of the world and from what I’ve been told Czech people drink the most beer per capita in the world. I also enjoyed the traditional foods such as goulash, fried cheese, dumplings and Trdelnik to mention some.

A week passed and I started work, and after quite a pleasant lunch with my supervisor and co-workers I was shown around and for the following weeks I spent most of my weekday mornings and afternoons working on computer simulations of biological molecules. Work at VSCHT was a pleasant experience, my supervisor and co-workers were all very helpful and friendly, and we frequently went for lunch and being Czech Republic sometimes also for some beers after work. Apart from the new friends I made at work I also made friends with the other trainees coming from countries all over the world. This was possible all thanks to the local IAESTE who organised different, exciting and memorable events at least once a week and also due the fact that, the trainees formed a community and we used to meet up quite frequently.

Sadly two months went by quite quickly and after one last walk through the city, I was packing my bags to travel back to Malta, but after having tasted life in Czech Republic I am sure that I will visit again. As a final note, I would like to thank both IAESTE.Malta and IAESTE VSCHT Praha for making this unforgettable experience possible and also, Dr. Spiwok and his team for their hospitality.