Experiences of Erasmus+ Internship Abroad Program
My name is Pann Ei Ei Phyoe and I am currently doing an internship program at the Centre of Expertise Water Technology (CEW) in the city of Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands. I am a third semester master student of WAREM (Water Resources Engineering and Management) at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.
My main goal for the internship is to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in a practical and international working environment. Erasmus+ program provides me a chance of doing an exchange internship in one of the European institutes while enrolling at the University. I arrived in Leeuwarden on the 15th of September 2018. I started my internship with the training of “Wetskills Water Challenge 2018” in Leeuwarden. This challenge was a part of my internship.
There were students from different parts of the world who participated for a two-week intensive training. We have consulted various sectors including governments, private and public institutes and companies. We had training on four main topics: self-supportive temporary shelters for multi-purpose use, self-supportive cities and islands on water and energy, wastewater reuse for agriculture, and BioBizzHub for energising startups to scale up their business. We also had excursions to Afsluitdijk which is one of the biggest flood protection dikes in the world and one of its kind. Getting a glance of how the Dutch protect their country from the danger of flooding was fascinating.
My team came up with the decentralized energy circulation system for the topic of Self-supportive cities and islands on water and energy and we have won the challenge with the project “Water Wide Web 3.1”. Besides, we had a chance to participate in the European Water Tech Week (EWTW) in Leeuwarden. It was a good experience to work with students from different nationalities and backgrounds and we were able to network professionally. Besides, it opened my eyes about the water sector even more.
I love cycling as I grew up with bikes in Myanmar. Leeuwarden reminds me a lot about my hometown. It is small yet, it has everything that you need. I can bike everywhere easily. One of the interesting things is learning the cultural difference. All my Dutch colleagues tend to have bread for lunch every day with a cup of milk. I do not see anyone having warm meal in the lunch time. Besides, the nightlife in Holland usually starts very late, once I was at a club at 1:00 AM and it seems that we were the first to arrive and we had a very good laugh about it. Furthermore, the researchers are very welcoming to the students, this makes the communication easy. We also celebrate a cake afternoon almost every two weeks and an activity to improve the team-building skills such as golfing, or ice-skating in each month.
I started my project of Desalination of Salty Seepage on the 1st of October, and at the end of October, I have received a second project which is to perform analysis and analytical control of a small waste water system in the lab scale. I work mainly in the Water Application Centre (WAC) which is situated in University of Applied Science Van Hall Larenstein. I have two project supervisors who closely supervised me along the process. I felt incredibly fortunate because I can not only work in a full-facilitated institute but also have the mentors and professionals to ask any questions that I might have. The opportunity of “Learning by working” has a huge impact on my learning processes. Besides, CEW and Wetsus Academy have accommodated many students and researchers, hence it has also given me a chance to network broadly in the water sector.
In conclusion, I am very happy and made the right decision to come to the Netherlands for my Erasmus+ internship and I am sure it will have a huge impact on deciding not only for my master thesis but also for my future career.