It's now over a month and a half since I arrived back in oh-so-sunny Scotland from my German adventure. So far I've been keeping busy seeing family and friends, enjoying my final fresher's week, and revelling in the delights of organising my university timetable. But now that I'm back into the routine of things again I realise I really miss Germany! However, since I'm just slightly late with this post, I'll talk about my final week in Bad Homburg before I move onto the reflective part!
Week 8 spelled the end of my placement with Fresenius Medical Care in their R&D department and it couldn't have flown by any quicker than it did! On the Monday I listed the main performance figures my prototype could achieve and then re-tested to make sure that these were accurate. Having completed most of the snagging tasks the previous week, the system now ran for long periods of time without any need for me to interfere. I presented my work to my supervisor, Mr Heide (aka Sascha), on Tuesday, who then decided that it was time to link up my project system with their own prototype, and see if they ran together.
The new Fresenius Medical Care concept dialysis machine runs in conjunction with my work! I simply couldn't believe it when I saw it happening! The idea that something a 22 year-old undergraduate student developed, on an 8 week internship, was operating along with an incredibly complex machine designed by a multinational company...it was mind blowing!
Wednesday saw me writing a short report on my work, as well as instructions on how to operate the equipment and software running it. I also had another meeting with Sascha where it was decided that a presentation, followed by a demonstration of my prototype, would be a good way to round off my internship. With only a day and a half to prepare, finish the report and make any last changes to the system, the pressure was most certainly on! Presentation time arrived all too quickly on Friday, but with greatly increased confidence in my abilities thanks to the internship experience, and the knowledge that my work was successful, it was quite exhilarating to stand before my colleagues and describe my project! And, even if I do say so myself, it went very well!
Of course it wasn't all work in my last week. Badminton was a final epic showdown between doubles pairs involving both myself and Sascha. The games were hard fought, and all traces of "non-competitiveness" disappeared within the first few shots - especially after I had to limbo to dodge one! Points were scored like boxers trading blows and very soon it was 21-21. But there had to be a victor. Going 22-21 up after a fantastic smash, Sascha and Steffen laid up another couple of great shots to smash the shuttle down on the right side of the court - a shot which saw me dive head first from the other side to make the return! However, using a cunning drop shot, the game was finished at 23-21. Despite the loss (and being battered and bruised from my aerobatic antics) it was some of the best fun I've ever had!
To mark the end of my internship, I went for a meal with my friends and colleagues on the Thursday. I felt sad at leaving, but my main feeling throughout the night was one of contentment. I realise now that, after those 8 weeks, I was very much at home living and working in Bad Homburg. I had a fulfilling and challenging job, a myriad of different things to do and see when I was free, and a brilliant group of friends. The meal was the perfect way to round off an amazing time in Germany.
Now I'm home I really appreciate the opportunity I had with the Saltire Foundation. It's been said again and again but there aren't many placements like this available to students in Scotland. Many have the chance to study abroad, but it's not the same experience as working for an international company. Throughout the time I spent with Fresenius Medical Care I took on responsibilities and challenges I didn't think I would see until I graduate, and this has increased my self believe and confidence. I've also further developed my technical and communication skills. But, most importantly, I've learned what it is to be truly independent. Living alone in Bad Homburg with no other nearby Saltire interns forced me to go out and meet new people, experience things I've never done before and explore a fascinating country.
I can guarantee that the next group of Saltire Interns will not be disappointed. And if you do get a solitary placement - make the most of it and you'll have the time of your life.
Cheers for reading folks, you've been a wonderful audience.
For further information on the SaltireFoundation contact:
Level 7, Strathclyde Business School, 199. Cathedral Street, Glasgow, G4 0QU
Tel: +44 (0)141 548 4417 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Company registered in Scotland No. SC332951.
Charity registered in Scotland No. SC038858
Friends of SaltireFoundation |
| Site Map |
Contact Us |