Structural Biology Internship and my mountain retreat

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This summer I did an internship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble. When I started to look for an internship it was important for me to find a good institution, but at the same time I wanted to see some of the world, experience a different culture and work on my language skills; it was the summer holidays after all. Grenoble seemed to fulfil this criteria.

My workplace (campus around the Polygone shaped Building) seen from the Bastille.

My workplace (campus around the Polygone shaped Building) seen from the Bastille.

EMBL is a world-renowned institute for structural biology. There I had the chance to use exciting equipment and carry out research on an interesting topic (this would be worth an article by itself, but unfortunately it would go beyond the word limit and the patience of the non-science enthusiastic readers). At the institute I also had the chance to meet researchers and students from all over the world, discuss science as well as get inspired for my own future career.
This is clearly something that would be beneficial for the rest of my degree, and beyond that.

Getting to know the theory: a collegue and me discussing some results.

Getting to know the theory: discussing some results with one of my collegues

Working with liquid nitrogen

Working with liquid nitrogen in the lab

As soon as the weekend started I was out of the city, benefiting from the beautiful area surrounding Grenoble: hiking, swimming in a beautiful mountain lake, waterskiing or a trip to the Mediterranean Sea. In the area around Grenoble there are no limits for outdoor enthusiasts.
This allowed me to have the perfect balance between work and leisure time. So even after a two months internship I will return to university fully recovered and ready for the upcoming semester.

Beautiful scenery on one of the many hikes I did.

Beautiful scenery on one of the many hikes I did.

Reward after a long hike: Swimming in one of the most beautiful mountain lakes I have ever seen.

Reward after a long hike: Swimming in one of the most beautiful mountain lakes I have ever seen.

Of course, sometimes there were days that didn’t go well. For instance, when I made a mistake in the lab or felt out of place while struggling with my French, but it’s hard to be upset for longer than a few minutes in a country which is known for its delicious food and its good weather. There, every time you had a tough day at work, you go to the bakery next door, choose one of the most delicious pastries you ever had in your life and enjoy it in the late afternoon sun.

So what did I gain from this internship after all?
I got much more confident in the lab and had the chance to get a more practical approach on the field I study. This will not only benefit me for my future studies, but was also very interesting and enjoyable.
I also met a lot of interesting people, made new friends and learned a lot about a different culture.
Oh, and not to forget, I improved my French language skills while spending my summer in one of the possibly most beautiful areas of Europe.

I just want to use the last few words of my post, to thank the PGA Fund for supporting me during this project. A big thank you also goes to the whole Berger Group at EMBL, especially my supervisor Guillaume, for the warm welcome they gave me, the patience they had with me in the lab and the nice and fun conversations we shared!

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