My name is Jack Garwood and I’m currently halfway through my overseas internship. My internship is located in Berlin, Germany and goes for a total of 8 weeks between the start of January and the end of February. I study Biomedical Engineering back in Victoria, Australia, and was lucky enough to obtain a research assistant role in the Institute of Integrative Neuroanatomy at Charité hospital.
Accommodation and linking with my company were achieved through the AIC international program. My room is nothing flashy but provides a wardrobe, private bathroom and a desk with a good view of the Berlin skyline. The day after I arrived, AIC held an orientation, outlining all general queries such as resident rules and regulations, public transport and common cultural things that we’d find a little obscure in Australia. As well as this, an internship folder was provided with details on what to see, student discounts and the upcoming events that AIC booked us in for which I’ll comment on later, overall handy.
My days at work entail using microscopic technology to capture neurons from various tissue of the cerebral cortex and then identify cell structures as well as cell reconstruction, this is done across a few projects that my supervisors are working on. Originally, I was nervous, but everyone has been very welcoming and are happy to assist in any queries that I’ve had. Additionally, it is common for social gatherings to occur which has helped me to settle in well.
I’ve also had the pleasure to shadow a few aspects of my supervisor’s role, such as cell-patching experiments, the handling of lab rodents as well as technical staff meetings where institute disputes and changes are settled. Alternative resources are also offered, as the Charité has a partnering university, weekly seminars are held where any faculty, family or friends are invited with food being supplied afterwards.
On top of this, the AIC co-ordinators provide an event at least once a week to keep us on our toes. They’re not compulsory, but whether it be lunch, a tour, or a networking event, they are a great way to fit in some more new experiences on the busy weekdays. I was not expecting these alternative ways to spend my time and have been grateful to be able to participate in them.
I’m so glad I followed through with the overseas internship opportunity that Swinburne has provided and am looking forward to the rest of my time over here!