Flexibility and freedom

With employers looking for something extra on CVs these days, I was keen to have some professional experience on mine to catch a prospective employer’s eye. I also thought a placement would be a good way to try a work area I wasn’t sure about.

As a student research intern, I worked with an academic research group on solar energies trying to establish an efficient and cost-effective way to desalinate seawater. Once trained, I was left to my own devices – it felt like doing a one-year PhD. I loved having the flexibility and freedom to direct the research myself.

Although I’m not expecting to pursue an academic career, my placement definitely left me feeling I’d like to continue in the research field for a few years via a PhD.

Taking the time to travel

Being so far from home encouraged me to travel. I was also exposed to many new cultures by travelling with the other international students based at the Institute. This opportunity to travel really opened my eyes to the idea of living and working outside the UK, so living in Australia for another stint in my life is a definite possibility.

A placement is a great way to widen your professional and personal networks. The more you put in, the more you get out, and if you try something slightly outside your comfort zone, you’ll be sure to feel some reward.