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Ing. Aneta Pospíšilová, UCT Prague, ročník 5

Faculty FCHI
Field of study Organic Chemistry
Field of internship Engineering, Other
Specialization of InternshipChemical Engineering
Internship period (from - to) 7.8.2017 - 13.4.2018
Internship duration (weeks) 36
Transport (means, price) Emirates, 36000 CZK
Insurance/Insurance company Travel insurance, AXA assisance
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) yes
Price of Visa 275 AUD
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Australia, Adelaide
Internship reference number AU-2017-OZ1707

About the country

Location of the place

Australia

City

Adelaide. The capital of South Australia. With a population, almost the same as Prague (1.3 million) and an area nearly five times bigger, Adelaide has, indeed, almost countryside character. City life, like shops, cinemas, clubs and restaurants is concentrated in a small CBD (central business district). CBD is easily accessible by train from all suburbs including Mawson Lakes, where the university is located.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

Adelaide is a perfect place for outdoor lovers. There's no real civilization between 50 and 500 km from the city centre. Mt Lofty Ranges, surrounding the city, offers a number of short walks for afternoon and day trips. Possible destinations for weekends are Kangaroo Island (if you want to see heaps of kangaroos and other Australian wildlife), Flinders Ranges or Mount Remarkable (for skilled hikers and fans of Snowtown movie), Barrosa Valley for wine lovers, and much more. There are also long-distance walking trails, connecting the best spots of South Australia. My favourites are Heysen Trail and Yurrebilla Trail. Unfortunately, it's hard to get anywhere by public transport. The best way is to rent a car. Or to fly, if you want to get to another part of the country. There are frequent flights (2-5x/day) between Adelaide and all bigger Australian cities.

Employer

Employer

Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia.

Work description

My project was about a development of a microfluidic sensor for analysis of swimming pool water. Our goal was to create a prototype of the device. As a chemist, I focused on finding suitable reagent formulations for colorimetric sensing of specific analytes. Other members of the team at university worked on a design and manufacturing of microfluidic chips. We also collaborated with a private company that’s going to commercialize the device in a future. Their engineers worked mostly on HW and SW for controlling the reaction on the chip. I consider the cooperation with the industrial partner to be the most valuable part of the internship. It was a unique opportunity to turn basic research into something highly applied.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

350 AUD/week. Just enough for basic needs and low-cost travelling around the country. Still, the internship was quite financially challenging, because of high costs of flights to/from Australia, medical insurance and additional fees for visa purposes. My overall balance is rough -70 000 CZK.

Language requirements

Excellent English is required.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

135AUD/week (bills not included, roughly another 15 AUD). University doesn’t provide long-term accommodation, interns must find it themselves. There’s a number of websites advertising shared accommodation, I prefer Flatmates. It’s possible to start searching and organizing inspections before coming to Australia. Compared to Prague or Brno, it’s much easier to find affordable accommodation. There are usually only 1-3 applicants for each advertised room/flat in Mawson Lakes area, so the chance of being accepted as a tenant is quite high.

Social life

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

IAESTE Australia doesn't have anyone in Adelaide.

Meeting other foreign students

At university. UniSA is very international workplace, with majority of European and Asian students and staff. Contrary to other schools I know, there’s a lot of short-term visiting students (IAESTE interns have a status of visiting student, too), in some groups it‘s more than PhDs, master students and postdocs. It has pros and cons. The biggest benefit is that the place is full of people, who are new there, and usually excited about exploring Australia and making new friends. Great place for social animals. As a disadvantage I see the fact that working on a project, that was started by one student and continued by two others may be hard. Everyone has different system of conducting lab notes (sometimes hardly understandable). So, there is always some confuse and loss of knowledge when people change and it may be really depressive to follow on their work.

Sport and culture

I’m not too into watching sport or going to theatre, so I can’t comment much on this. But I’ve been told that there’s number of sport and cultural events all year round. What I appreciated was relative proximity of good hiking spots, perfect park for jogging several meters from university and good quality of local live rock music in pubs and bars.

Food, local specialties

Original Australian food is adopted from England, so nothing too exotic for us. Supermarkets offer basically the same range of goods as in Czechia, restaurants usually make international food or are specialized on Japanese, Korean, Chines, Indian or Italian cuisine.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Internet

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

Be prepared that it’ll cost something. As I said, my overall financial balance is -70 000 CZK and it’s almost impossible to make it cheaper. If I ate only plain bread, didn’t go out at all and didn’t travel during holidays and after the internship, then it would be maybe 0. If you want to earn something, better apply for working holiday.
Count with having lots of free time. Contrary to some European universities, where overloading students is considered the only way to make good research, here, working hours in labs are 9 – 17. Students are usually expected to be there the 8 hours a day, not more, and the amount of work they are given is proportional or smaller. If you’re looking for good work-life balance, this is the right place for you. But I wouldn’t recommend this for an ambitious workaholic.

What not to forget with you

Passport and prescription medicine, if you take any (in this case, you’ll probably also need doctor’s confirmation for customs). Forgetting anything else is not a big deal. Electronics and clothes are relatively cheap and it’s not a problem to buy anything in CBD or online.

Benefits of the internship

It dramatically improves your ability to communicate fluently in English. And leaving the whole comfort zone and changing the whole environment and people around you is great introspective experience.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

IAESTE Australia is small and doesn’t have any member in Adelaide, so they couldn’t care much during my internship. They helped me with the complicated visa process, for which I’m very thankful. They also invited me to some bigger IAESTE events in Melbourne. Everything else was on me, Czech IAESTE (they’re excellent!) and UniSA.

Overall experience with IAESTE

I appreciate their hard work and enthusiasm, that helps student to get professional experience abroad. It was very valuable experience!

Student's website

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Employer's webiste

https://fii.unisa.edu.au

Other useful links

https://www.gumtree.com.au/
https://flatmates.com.au/

Other comments

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