Micaela Bortas, KU Leuven, Belgium
”Working with 5G was very exciting because the research is very relevant and easy to relate to”
Micaela Bortas did research on 5G at MATLAB during her internship. She recommends Belgium to anyone that considers doing a traineeship.
Why did you choose to do a traineeship? What did you want to get out of the experience?
A classmate and I did an internship as part of our degree project for the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at Lund University. We worked for approximately five months at KU Leuven, Belgium's largest university which has a collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. Our thesis was about simulations with 5G technology in MATLAB and investigating how the system behaved when the simulations were made low-complex. We created the system ourselves from scratch and implemented everything we tested on our own.
What did you do during your traineeship?
We became part of a research group where everyone worked with wireless communication in different ways. This was very rewarding, since the research group could provide us with a lot of knowledge and support. We also got to know a lot of people from different parts of the world. We learned both about the Belgian culture and language while having a social life that made going to the workplace on a daily basis very fun and exciting.
Which tasks were the most interesting?
Working with 5G was very exciting because we participated in research on something that is very relevant and easy to relate to. There were also a lot of people with expertise and experience in the field at the university, which was very useful when we got stuck on a problem, since we could solve it quickly. We also made relevant implementations and tests of the system that we had created. This led us to work very effectively and the finished work felt valuable for continued research. Having this degree project completed has been a great advantage while searching for a job, both because of the international experience and because of the knowledge from this particular subject area.
We chose to stay in Brussels and commute to Leuven, approximately one hour every day. This worked well and we got to see a lot of both cities. Belgium is a bilingual country, and in Brussels and Leuven you speak different languages, which was an exciting daily transition. The fact that Brussels is a very international city did not really mean that the inhabitants had great English language skills. In Leuven on the other hand it was very easy to make ourselves understood. With that said, we managed life in Belgium very well without being able to speak French or Flemish fluently.
Do you have any tips for future trainees going to Belgium?
Prices in Belgium are similar to Sweden. Housing is basically always available if you are searching enough. However, a tip is to plan ahead and to be critical while searching for housing. The housing quality is generally worse than in Sweden and it may be worth visiting your room or apartment before signing a contract.
Belgium has a very interesting history and there is much to see and to discover. You can see everything from important-looking EU buildings to fun student traditions and cozy little towns in a beautiful nature. Belgium has also played a central role during the Second World War, which means there is much to see and learn about the history of Belgium. I therefore strongly and kindly recommend Belgium for anybody who is thinking about doing their internship here!
Name and age:
Micaela Bortas, 27 years
Field of study at Lund University:
Electrical Engineering (sixth year)
Did her internship at:
KU Leuven, Belgium
Email:micaela [dot] bortas [at] gmail [dot] com