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Ing. Michal Zálešák, Tomas Bata University in Zlin,ročník 2 PhD
About the country
Location of the place
Szczecin is the capital city of the West Pomeranian region. It is located in the northwest of Poland nearby the Oder River. Furthermore, it is only 65 km from the coast of the Baltic Sea and 130 km from Berlin. Finally, Germany is only 16 km far away from Szczecin.
Szczecin has about 409.000 inhabitants. The town area is around 300 square kilometers large and it contains over 40% of green areas with almost 24% of water surface including parks, reserves with wildlife, natural monuments and 230 archaeological sites. Szczecin is not a tipical Polish town as it miss a central square and the architecture is more less given by German history (the cite used to belong to Germany up to the end of the WWII). Perhaps worth mentioning building is St. Peter's Basilica.
Surroundings (possible trips, ...)
There are many parks and lakes worth to visit. The Odra River and Lake Głębokie with sandy beaches can be reach by a tram. Right next to the lake, there is a rope-climbing center. Another lake that is nearby to Szczecin is the Lake Dabie(approximately 15 minutes from the main train station in Szczecin). In the very center of the lake, there is a concrete ship wreck from the World War II. I personally appreciated the most the fact that the Baltic Sea was just 80 minutes away from Szczecin by a train. From the nearby coastal towns, I would recommend Miedzyzdroje with a national park Woliński as well as Świnoujście with a beautiful colonnade.
West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin, Faculty of Toxicology.
Very simple laboratory work based manly on extraction of diffeent samples for further analyses by gas chromatography (GC). Also, collecting of scientific papers related to the appearance of chlorinated substances in tea samples. Then, writing parts of an English article for publishing purposes. Finally, I could attend an international conference with my scientific report.
Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)
1200 PLN/month good enough to cover fees for an accommodation plus food. However, it was not sufficient payment for further trips and even public transportation.
English B1 or Polish B1 or Russian B1.
Accommodation (price, who provided it)
A single room at student'sd ormitory DS4 was provided by IAESTE. Price 410 PLN/month. It was an ordinary hostel comparable with those in the Czech Republic. The room was consisted of a small living room equipped with an ordinary furniture e.g. shelves, cabinets, refrigerator, bed, internet cable and so on. Also, the room contained a bathroom with a toilete as well as a shower.
Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)
Practically no assistance from the side of a local IAESTE. I was not picked up, nobody took me to my working place and I did not received any help when it was needed. On the other hand, I was able to manage everything by myself so I do not argue too much about things that have happened. IAESTE members organised each Wednesday a meeting in a pub that was opened for anybody who wanted to meet trainees.
Meeting other foreign students
I was spending majority of my free time with my Polish friends and from time to time I occasionaly met other trainees during Wednesday's meetings or when we agreed on some sport activities like football, volleyball, or basketball.
Sport and culture
As mentioned above. There was quite a nice sport pitch exactly next to my dormitory so it was easy to join other students for some sport activities. Furthermore, there is quite a good swimming pool in Szczecin, which I would recommend.
Food, local specialties
Eating habits in Poland are different those we know from the Czech Republic. In Poland, there is never lunch at 12pm and people usually work up to 3pm and then just go to eat lunch, so I would recommend to others to prepare a snack for your work. In majority cases, I just went for lunch into some restaurant and ate there. The price for such lunch in a restaurant varied from 10 to 15 PLN. When it comes to talk about the Polish food, nobody should miss pierogi. This national specialty can be ordered in almost every restaurant.
Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic
There was an access on internet at my dormitory so it was the easiest way to communicate with my family and friends in the Czech Republic and beyond. Moreover, there was a post office nearby to my dormitory. Finally, I would recomend to by a Polish SIM card for communication in Poland.
Recommendations for students who will go to the same place
Learn basic Polish phrases for daily communication.
What not to forget with you
Take money for the first month of your stay and at least 3 passport photos.
Benefits of the internship
From the proffesional point of view this internship had practically no benefits for me so in other words it was completely useless stay.
Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country
Overall experience with IAESTE
This was not the best internship and I would not recommend it to others, yet IAESTE is an unique organisation that has many highly qualified internships all over the world so do not be affraid to take a part in it.
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