I am José Filipe Pinto, 23 years old, and I come from a small village near Braga, in the north of Portugal. I took my first degree in Biochemistry at the University of Porto and I am recently in the last year of my master’s degree in Food Science and Technology at the University of Minho, Portugal. In this master’s degree I saw an opportunity to pursue my studies in an area that I enjoy and a way to gain more experience and knowledge before embarking on the job market.
The first time I heard about CEW was in the middle of the first year of my master’s degree. A teacher asked if any student was willing to take an internship there about water technology, which I accepted. During my internship I was involved in two Paques projects, first Thiopaq and later Annamox. Thiopaq is a desulfurization technology developed by Paques B.V. . Annamox consists in turning ammonium present in waters to gaseous nitrogen, for example in waste waters.
When asked if I wanted to do my internship at CEW, I saw an opportunity to work abroad in a business context, gaining experience and autonomy. Plus waste water treatment is one of the areas that interests me the most, so the theme of this internship pleased me. And of course it was a way to get in touch with a new culture and to travel. The things I enjoyed the most in the projects was being able to make the reactor’s daily maintenance and see how they were developing. There were some bad moments when problems came up but that’s part of the job. During the last 5 months here I’ve learned a lot about water technology, engineering and bioreactor maintenance. I also gained a lot of experience in chemical analyses among other important lab skills and group work.
I would of course recommend working for CEW! At CEW you get to gain a lot of laboratorial experience and have to deal and solve practical problems at first hand. After this internship I feel a lot more prepared to work in the future and more confident in my skills, especially in the laboratory. And of course everyone here makes you feel integrated and part of the family.
Leeuwarden is a cozy and vibrant city in the north of the Netherlands, capital of the province of Fryslân. The province has its own history and somehow its own culture, even within the country. A lot of people here speak not only Dutch but also the Frisian language. And its people seem to be very proud of their roots. Before I arrived in the Netherlands I’ve been told that I would find people from here a bit ‘cold’ but it was the opposite! I felt very well received all the time and everyone was pleasant and joyful. Leeuwarden has many foreign students and the city has good housing opportunities so I chose a student residency to live during my internship.
Now that the internship at CEW is over I am going to return to Portugal and finish my studies. My short term plan is first to finish my master’s degree. After that I have to decide whether I continue to study or start searching for a job.