Hey folks, Chris McGuire here. For those of you that don’t
know, I am the Saltire Intern for General Electric in Holland working as a
steam chemistry commissioning engineer. I have now reached the halfway point of
my time here and I thought I would start this week’s blog with a little
personal reflection of my time here so far before I tell you about the past
seven days’ adventures. This going to kind of be like your favourite TV show (like
Mock The Week or something) broadcasting those annoying ‘best of so far’ clip
show episodes half way through the season.
The experience so far has definitely been life changing and
I’m not just saying this to make it sound like I’m having a good time. I
seriously feel like I have matured drastically over the last month: learning to
become totally independent; living on my own in a new country. I have lived in
a flat before but that was in Edinburgh with one of my friends. This is totally
different, the deep end you might say, with nobody here to hold my hand.
Interestingly, the ‘culture shock’ stages in the Saltire Foundation pack were
pretty bang on and I can happily say I have got through them all without many
One of the positives of this ‘learning to be independent thing’
is I feel my self confidence in general
has seen an overall ascension through my travels of sightseeing in The
Netherlands and Belgium as well as engaging in foreign languages; having French
friends at work and the Dutch in public situations means a big improvement in
the French language.. On the subject of friends, the guys and gals in the team
have been more warm and welcoming than I could ever have expected and I like to
think this is due to a combination of these dudes being awesome and my own outgoing
As for the job itself, I now understand what people mean
when they say “When you leave Uni, forget everything you know” as when you get
the chance to work in a proper working environment you realise how little you
actually know about the same subject you have been studying for four years.
Let’s just say University is like the stabilisers on your first bike - they
help you learn the basics but eventually they have to come off and it’s never
the same after that point. This internship has proven to be a small taste of
the feeling that I hope to indeed experience again after (if? lol) I graduate
next year. Regardless of the engineering background of the work, my general
work ethic has improved drastically too. The long hours and early starts have
required good discipline, planning and preparation. Not having a car has also
been interesting. Indeed, I believe the experience has made me more
appreciative of the comforts I sometimes take for granted back home.
Anyway, enough of the mushy self-realisation spiel for now.
The important thing is that I wrote ‘lol’ in a blog. Roll on the next four
weeks of Holland-ness!
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