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BSc Ekaterina Simonova, CTU Prague, ročník 4

Faculty Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology
Field of study General and Applied Biochemistry
Field of internship Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Specialization of InternshipBiochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Internship period (from - to) 4.7.2017 - 9.7.2018
Internship duration (weeks) 56
Transport (means, price) Airplane 750 EUR one-way
Insurance/Insurance company nib: Health Insurance & Private Health Cover Australia
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408)
Price of Visa 177 EUR
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Australia, Melbourne
Internship reference number AU-2017-OZ1711

About the country

Location of the place

The CSIRO Parkville site is located in the heart of Melbourne. The location is very convenient as the nearest metro station is only a 10 min walk away, tram and bus stations are 3-5 min walk. There are a lot of scientific organisations down the road like WEHI, PeterMac and The Peter Doherty Institute, which provide interesting lectures and workshops.


Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia after Sydney. In the city, there are a variety of restaurants of different cuisines such as Chinese, Italian and Greek. There are also many musical performances such as The Wizard of Oz in Enmore theatre which will change seasonally. There are many Victorian age buildings scattered through the city such as the Flinders Station, Saint Paul Cathedral juxtaposed with nature landscape such as Royal Botanical Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. Through the middle of the city, lies the Yarra River along which many festivals are held. There is also the largest open market in the southern hemisphere, the Queen Victoria Market in the city where it is easy to get fresh food. Overall, I believe Melbourne is a fabulous place and deserves to be the ‘most livable city’.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

While some people complain that there is little to do here or hard to find things to do. I found Melbourne very attractive for tourists. Within a few hours' drive, there are some wonderful places to go hiking in Wilson’s Promontory, the Grampians or surfing in Torquay or on the Mornington peninsula. I would recommend going along the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles via the beautiful coastal drive. Other nice place to visit is The Dimboola Lake, which is a picturesque pink salt lake close to Grampians National Park.



CSIRO CMSE Manufacturing Parkville (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

Work description

My project focused on the characterization of the EGFR mutants expressed in glioblastoma. The majority of people work on protein purification and crystallization. The people who work in the company are very generous and always ready to help, so the atmosphere at work is wonderful. In addition to the lunch break, every day we had morning tea at work at 11 a.m. and afternoon tea at 4 p.m. Moreover, your life will be full of cakes and brownies, as traditionally there are a lot of celebrations, such as Cupcake Day or Health and Safety Day.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

450 AUD per week. It was enough for travelling around Australia.

Language requirements

Basic knowledge of English (B2 to C1). IELTS or TOEFL certificates are not required.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

Neither IAESTE Australia nor CSIRO provides accommodation. I found a private room with my own bathroom on for $200 AUD per week, all bills included apart from electricity. For electricity I paid approximately $40 per month. The room was located in the northern suburbs of Melbourne (Preston). The location was good as I had a train station around the corner, as well as a Woolworths supermarket and the Preston Market just across the road. The distance to work by bicycle was about 30 min. Later I moved to another private room in Coburg North, where I paid 190 AUD per week with all bills included. I would highly recommend Brunswick as prices for accommodation are reasonable and the location is convenient.

Social life

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

I was picked up by an IAESTE member at the airport. He gave me the card for public transport - a Myki card with $10 AUD.

Meeting other foreign students

IAESTE organized a meeting and a dinner every second week, so all IAESTE interns were invited. Two other girls from Germany and Spain worked at the same company, so we planned all our trips together.

Sport and culture

Sport is an important part of Australian culture. I cycled to work all the time and I could see that Australians love sport as there were so many cyclists and runners. Moreover, Aussie loves cricket, AFL, tennis and rugby. If you are in Australia in January, don’t hesitate to visit the Australian Open tennis tournament. The cheapest ticket costs around $50 AUD. I had the opportunity to visit AFL game, the cheapest ticket is only $25 AUD.

Food, local specialties

Australia doesn’t have a special cuisine, so you can find there a lot of food from different parts of the world. A lot of Asian specialities are available on Market Ln Street in the city center. There are a lot of good places where you can eat cheap. It is possible to bring your own drinks in some of the restaurants in Australia, so your dinner is not very expensive. Enjoy special themed nights, new and exciting food vendors, special bar offers, free entertainment and all the summer atmosphere you know and love at Melbourne’s biggest Wednesday night party at the Queen Victoria Market.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Internet – WhatsApp, Viber, depends on you what is your favorite App or Chat. The mobile phone carrier I used was Optus and I paid $20 AUD for 3 GB of data per month. I paid around 20 cents per minute for standard national calls to Australian mobiles and 20 cents per text message. I would also recommend Telstra as a carrier provider. If you want to send a card to your friends the price of a card is in the range of $1 – $5 AUD, a stamp will cost $3 AUD.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

You should be prepared to spend a lot of money on flight tickets, a visa, insurance and other things before the trip. Don’t forget to save money for a bond, and the first three weeks living there, as the first salary will come in two or three weeks. I advise that you order a SIM card early over the Internet. I opened a bank account in Westpac, it was one year for free for people from overseas. If you want to save money, buy a bicycle when you arrive and buy food at markets (vegetables, fruit, fish and meat are cheaper there).
I would also recommend to come to Australia for the whole year as you never know if you have this opportunity again in your life.

What not to forget with you

Don’t forget to take adapters for Australian power sockets.
An ATM takes $2 AUD commission for withdraw (depending on the ATM and which bank you use). So I would recommend transferring money through TransferWise.

Benefits of the internship

The CSIRO is great for those who want to improve their skills at work, it provides opportunity to try different fields of biochemistry and understand what you enjoy the most.
English language improvement is guaranteed.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

I was satisfied with IAESTE Australia, as they organized trips for interns to the Mornington peninsula and Torquay for surfing. They were friendly and happy to help.

Overall experience with IAESTE

I did not have any troubles with IAESTE Czech Republic. Only positive experience.

Student's website


Employer's webiste

Other useful links

Other comments

The visa I applied for was Temporary Activity Visa (subclass 408), however other students applied for Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462).

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