Sara Gunnarsson, KU Leuven, Belgium
”Doing an internship as part of your degree project is great!”
Sara combined her degree project with her internship. She now plans to pursue a PhD in Electrical Engineering.
Why did you choose to do a traineeship?
I did my internship as part of my degree project. I wanted to gain more international experience and broaden my views, while I also wanted to write my thesis in a place where people are successful in my field and where there are great opportunities for me to develop.
What did you do during your traineeship?
Since my internship was part of my degree project, my internship included a literature study, developing a model for a communication system, running simulations, experimenting, and finally analysing the results and writing a report. I also learned how to make good presentations and practised presenting my work to a research group before I went back home and handed in my project. I collaborated with other doctoral students who all came from different parts of the world.
Which tasks were the most interesting?
Generally speaking, I wanted to use the knowledge from my education in a real-life setting. Of course it was also interesting when I started to generate results that no one else had achieved before. Otherwise it was interesting to be part of an international research environment and to work with scientific methods in a larger project.
Did the traineeship affect your future career?
It has been very important to me. As a result of my internship, my plan is now to take a double PhD in collaboration with Lund University and KU Leuven, something that probably would not have happened otherwise. The internship led me towards the PhD track and I also gained experience working in an international environment. Parts of my results will also be published and presented during an international conference and my model is currently being used by other PhD students in their work.
Do you have any advice for future trainees?
Doing an internship as part of your degree project is great! A good and easy way to find housing is through different Facebook groups, for example, I found my place via a group of Swedes in Brussels. If you have earlier experiences of the language, take the opportunity and try to speak with the locals. If you are a beginner, you can always learn a lot of words and phrases. Taking language courses provides both better knowledge and an opportunity to get to know people. I recommend you to try and discover the country right away, time goes faster than you can imagine.
Name and age:
Sara Gunnarsson, 25 years
Field of study at Lund University:
Electrical Engineering (fifth year)
Did her traineeship at:
KU Leuven, Belgium
Email: saragunnarsson91 [at] gmail [dot] com