I am writing in order to express my excitement regarding the great experience that I had during my one-month stay in Brussels. I am a PhD student in the University of Edinburgh and my research area is the contact explosions on structural elements. Being responsible for validating already existing experimental results through numerical simulations, means that my experimental skills and experience are missing. For that reason I decided to visit the Royal Military Academy of Belgium for experimental training. Thanks to the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund that was possible. The Academy offered me a spacious room within the campus and that was very convenient for me since I avoided wasting time in public transport. Everything was very well organised inside the beautiful campus of the Academy. In particular, high safety standards were met everywhere, the gym was very well equipped, the food that was served in the canteen three times per day was delicious, in a very good quality and inexpensive, and the researchers that I worked with were fantastic. I trained both in the ballistic department (ABAL) and the department which is responsible for doing research on explosions (COBO). These two bodies are in a very close collaboration and both cover my PhD research area. I was working in the office that was offered to me between 9 am-5 pm. During this time I had to run numerical simulations for a new project that was on the way and to assist the actual experiments that were conducted for this purpose. Furthermore, I took part in several training courses in their laboratories, regarding the preparation and use of the ballistic and detonation equipment. Apart from the experimental training and the skills that I gained through this, I felt very lucky since I worked with researchers that were top of their kind. Fruitful discussions that we had, led to an answer in my questions and made me more confident in my area of expertise. We came very close during this time and most importantly they made me feel like being at home. I am so glad that I had to collaborate not only with great researchers but with great people as well. I think this doesn’t happen every time. To be honest, one of the fears that I had before travelling there, was if I would be totally alone after the working hours. That didn’t happen at all. Several times I was invited in their place for dinner or we were out altogether for a drink. Apart from that, having such a good company I really enjoyed my sightseeing since I had the ‘locals’ always with me. I am so happy with my stay in Brussels, a city with architectural interest, great places to spend your free time and most importantly … amazing chocolates.
Thank you Principal’s Go Abroad Fund once again!
Pictures from the Academy and the Laboratories!