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Bc. Marketa Simkova, UCT Prague, ročník 3

Faculty Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology
Field of study Biochemistry
Field of internship Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Specialization of InternshipBiotechnology
Internship period (from - to) October 2nd - February 29th
Internship duration (weeks) 22
Transport (means, price) plane, 600EUR
Insurance/Insurance company AXA
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) yes
Price of Visa 200EUR
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  United Arab Emirates, Sharjah
Internship reference number AE/2023-31-RISE

About the country

Location of the place

The internship took place at University of Sharjah in United Arab Emirates. As soon as I arrived to UAE I was totally amazed by this country. Dubai is located 25min from Sharjah and we spent a lot of time there. I have to admit, that Dubai opened my eyes, I felt in love with this city and to be honest it would be my dream to live there. So I am so grateful for this internship that I have discovered such and amazing country, the country where I would like to live one day!


We stayed in Sharjah but most time we spent in Dubai.
Sharjah is more conservative so my advice to all girls is to wear longer clothes (if you want to avodi stearing indian and pakistani men at you.. first days you don`t mind but after few weeks is annoying and you dont feel comfortable). In Dubai it is totally different - there are more tourists, people of more nationalities etc. so it is no problem what are you wearing.
What did surprise me about Sharjah and Dubai is, that people are usually hanging out very late in the night - it is totally okay to go out around midnight even you are working following day (during the day the temperature is very high so people stay inside and in the nights when the temperature goes a bit down, people are hanging out).
People here love to drink karak (something between coffee and tee)!
Me and my group of friends we were very acive and every weekend we were doing many activities - visiting touristic atractions, shopping malls, restaurants, playing board and teams ball games, going to the beach and also enjoying nighlife.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

In Sharjah very nice area to visit is Al-Majaz - there are many restaurants (try Schawerman for best Schawerma), cafeterias (karak, lokaymat), open air cinema, street stands, waterfall, parks (great for picnics) etc. You can also visit Al-Noor island where is located Al-Noor mosque. Also worthy to visit is Sharjah aquarium, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation or famous Rain room. Necessary to visit is also Souq (typical markets) and also great activity to experience at least once is kayaking (my recommendation - do it during sunset).
In Dubai there are plenty of activities what you can do. You can visit Burj-Khalifa, Museum of the Future, View at the Palm, Sky-view observatory, Global Village, Miracle garden, Dubai Frame, Burj al Arab Dubai Eye, Blue Island, Hotel Atlantis with its Aquaventure waterpark. Dubai offer many beautiful beaches (Jumeirah beach), beautiful walks (for example in Dubai Marina or in Dubai Downtown), huge shopping malls (Mall of Emirates, Marina Mall, Dubai Mall). Visiting Dubai mall it`s s big experience since you get out of the metro and you need to walk 20min to enter the mall. In the Dubai mall there is ice-ring, huge waterfall, skeleton of dinosarus, area called chinatown etc. Out of Dubai mall there is great Dubai fountain where every half and hour is a music show. Nice to visit is also historical part of Dubai - called Old-Town Dubai.
We also went to mountains - the best were Hatta mountains and also we made trip to desert - riding on camels, typical arabic food and music night with fire show.
At the end of November we flew to Oman and stayed there for 5days. This was the best trip ever I would say. We rent cars and made a road trip. Except from Muscat (capital city of Oman), we visited also mountains and some small villages to see local people. One nigh we also spent in a desert (sleeping in tents, campfire, morning breakfast in a sand, camels around you and much more!)
Also is very worthy go for a trip to Abu-Dhabi - you can visit here the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Presidential Palace, Emirates Palace, The Founder`s memorial, Herritage village, Louvre museum, Ferrari World and of course beach called Cornichce.
We also visited Al-Ain, which is small cozy town 1,5hour from Abu-Dhabi.
If you have time (and money) you can also plan a trip to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain or Kuwait.



I was employed at University of Sharjah and my direct supervisor was Dr. Kareem Mosa from the Department of Biotechnology, College of Science. With Dr. Kareem we had weekly scheduled meeting where I updated him about my progress in a lab and we disscused the following steps. In November we hade one scientific conference for which I needed to prepare poster - Dr. Kareem showed a big interest and gave me a lot of his time to make my poster excellent. In all ways, working with Dr. Kareem was pleasant and we always agreed.
I had also great colleagues in my lab which were always there for me in case I needed to ask something.

Work description

On my very first meeting with my supervisor I had the chance to chose from 3 project on which they (my research group) were working on. My supervisor tried to find me project which would be the most interesting for me and the one which would be the most closest to my study field. I decided to work on a project - Gene expression analysis of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging enzymes in carrot in response to cobalt nanoparticles. My supervisor explained all to the details and my colleagues from lab showed me and taught me all the necessary thigs/techniques which I needed to know to be able to work afterwards on my own.
From the plant extracts (carrot extracts) we extracted RNA, we did RNA gel electrophoresis (agarose gel electrophoresis) to verify whether the RNA information is present in all samples. After that we measured concentration of RNA and did the normalization. Then cDNA synthesis was perfomed using reverse transcriptase and concentration of this newly synthesized cDNA was measured and again cDNA was normalized. To reveal an optimal temperature for RT-PCR reaction, a PCR- temperature optimalization experiment was carried out. After that RT-PCT was perfomed and obtained data were evaluated. So these were the basic steps which I did on my daily basis.. We worked in 1 biological replica and 3 technical replicas to obtain the most reliable data and we repeated these steps with many samples (we tested carrots root and shoot parts), we tested in total 6 different genes (responsible for metal tranport and plant stress) and we also took into consideration different concentrations of cobalt nanoparticles (0, 200, 400 and 600 mg/L CoNPs).
As a result of my internship I agreed with my supervisor that I will write 2 papers - one Review article and one Research article to publish. Both of them are done from my side and now I am waiting for feedback from my supervisor.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

Monthly we were getting around 3500aed which is around 870EUR. It was sufficient for local conditions. It was enough money to live.
It depends how much active you wanted to be - there were few students who didn`t join too much for weekends activities so I believe that they even safe some money. But in my case, I was joining my group for all activities and as everybody knows Dubai is quite expensive so I spent a lot of money. But the monthly salary was okay.. But I also got some money from my parents..

Language requirements

Yes English was enough. In UAE people speak arabic but with all tourists local people speak in English. Everybody there is able to speak English, so there was no problem relating to language. People in shops, restaurants, at university everybody was able to speak English.

Just small funny thing.. Sometimes we just had problems to understand Indian people because of their pronunciation, but you will get use to it.. so it was fine..

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

Accommodation was provided by IAESTE from receiving country and monthly we payed around 200EUR.
Dorms/university apartment building for girls was localized 15min from university, while dorms for boys were directly at the campus of university.
We shared apartments with other female interns - in my case I was living with 3 other girls (girl from Serbia, girl from Venezuela and another girl from Czech). Every apartment has 2 rooms and in each room were 2 girls, 2 bathrooms, big kitchen and big living room. The apartment as it self was very nice and clean. There were all essential home things - pots, glasses, plates, vacuum cleaner, mop, bed sheets etc.
The division into apartments was made a bit regarding to the nationalities, that fx. muslim female interns were put all together to have their privacy.
It was my first time to live at dorms and share apartment with other girls but I have to say that all was good, we all living in one apartment respect each other and made nice and pleasant conditions to live in.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organized events...)

Local IAESTE did not organize any event, except from lunch on National IAESTE day.
But with other interns we organized trips on our own - we planned trip to desert, we went to Hatta mountains, we made 2days trip to Abu-Dhabi and 5days trip to Oman.
(And also every weekend we planned activities in Sharjah or Dubai).

Meeting other foreign students

At university I have the oppurtunity to meet other students and they were joining our group of interns on weekend for various activities. These local students showed us some nice places in Sharjah and also introduce us their culture.

Sport and culture

At university we had a sport complex where was gym, pool and coaches were organizing various sport competitions and sport days for us. We really enjoy that!
With my group of interns we played for example paddel, footbal, we did kayaking and we also did hiking in mountains.

Food, local specialties

We tried local food - arabic food. They eat schawerma (kebab) with hummus, bread and pickels. Also very famous to eat is rice with chicken (chicken masala, butter chicken) or fish.
From drinks I have to mention karak (something between tee and coffee) and fresh juices (my favourite was lemon-mint juice or juice from watermelon).
From sweet dishes I very enjoyd Kunafa and Lokaymat.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp is only working from chatting (calls did not work).
For call (video calls) I used Botim. Also it was possible to use Microsoft Teams or Google meets.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

I think I dont have any specific recommendations.
Just enjoy your time at internship on maximum!!

What not to forget with you

I would just say bring your passport, visa and a good mood for discovering new country and meeting new people.
All other staff you can buy there.

(Girls should not forgot propriet clothes - longer pants, skirts)

Benefits of the internship

This internship was such an unforgetable experience to my life. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to work in a lab on my own and tried to work as a researcher. I met incredible people (students) from all over the world and get to know different cultures. I explored UAE and felt in love with this city and I can`t wait to go back to this city.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

Cooperation with IAESTE of the receiving coutry was okay. Unfortunately in UAE they dont have volunteers (young students) and there is just one woman who is responsible for everything. But I have to admit that all correspondence was okay, the woman was replying to my emails within few hours and always she was there for us if we needed to solve something or help with something.

Overall experience with IAESTE

My experience with IAESTE are on a high level! And if I could I would apply for IAESTE internship again! The best experience in my life! The best period of my life!

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Other comments

Big thanks to IAESTE Czech Republic for choosing me for this internship and thanks for all you care and help with all the forms and documents!

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