Leonie in Germany

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Ever since I was young, the prospect of living and working abroad has always been a dream of mine,

so when I heard about IAESTE and the opportunities that they offer, I knew that this was an opportunity I could not miss.

Whilst scrolling through the job offers on the IAESTE website, I came across a research &

development position within the ‘Institut für Leichtbau und Kunststofftechnik’ (Institute for

Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology) in Dresden, Germany. Since during my years in University I have developed an interest for materials and structural design, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me so I decided to try my luck and apply for the internship.


Whilst sitting on the plane, a million things were going through my mind. I had never been away

from my friends and family for more than two weeks, let alone for two whole months. However, as soon as I arrived in Dresden and a member of IAESTE picked me up, I immediately felt that I was welcomed to their family. Later that night, IAESTE Dresden organized a meet and greet next to the river Elbe where we had some drinks and got the opportunity to meet the rest of the interns who’d ultimately become my second family.


During my internship, I was working independently on a project in which I had the chance to use

various industrial equipment by myself. My task was to investigate the influence of fiber orientation and lay-up on Mechanical properties of thermoplastic semi-finished fiber products. I frequently met with my supervisor who was super helpful and friendly to discuss my progress and I feel that I have gained more knowledge about the field.


After work, the other interns and I would usually go out to discover Dresden or have a BBQ near the river and go to a local student bar every Thursday. In the weekends we would then go out of the city, in fact, I have visited various places that I never thought I would like; Leipzig, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Bratislava (which included a hiking trip to the amazing Tatra mountains) and hiking in the Saxony Mountains.


Going on this internship has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It has

exceeded all my expectations and has enabled me to meet various people from around the world, most of which I still keep in touch with even now. I believe that these experiences enrich one’s life not only because of the knowledge gained but it will also make you grow on a personal level.


For anyone considering going on an internship but is still indecisive I will leave you with the words of Jack Canfield “The biggest rewards in life are found outside your comfort zone. Live with it. Fear and risk are prerequisites if you want to enjoy a life of success and adventure.”