As part of my Master course at Universität Bremen, I am required to conduct independent research to complete my thesis work. For this purpose, I applied to and was accepted for a research internship at the CIMA Research Foundation in Savona, Italy. The internship was divided into 2 periods – I first joined CIMA in summer 2017 and then returned again in winter 2018. Both internship periods were supported by the Erasmus Internship grant.

My research work was related to studying the conservation status of whales in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2017, the main focus was to conduct field work to collect data for my thesis. The first few weeks were spent on training and learning the necessary practical skills at sea. After the training period, I worked both independently and also in a team with CIMA researchers other interns. When not at sea, time was spent in the office to organize the data. CIMA has also provided training for specific computer softwares needed for processing the data. At the end of the first internship, I had to return to Bremen to complete courses at the university. I then returned to CIMA again in winter 2018 to continue my work on the thesis. The second internship was spent on mostly working in the office. Time was divided into analyzing data, learning further computer skills for data analysis, fine-tuning the research details. At the end of the internship, I presented the results on my work to CIMA researchers and discussed with them on ways to improve the work. We are also in talks about the possibility of publishing my work in scientific journals and presenting it to a science conference at the end of 2019.

Overall, I have truly enjoyed my time in Italy and have learnt a great deal from CIMA researchers. Specifically, I have gained extra knowledge that was not taught in the university. I have also extended my professional network and have made life-long friends through this internship. For this, I am grateful for the support provided by the Erasmus grant which made the internship possible.