Why an Erasmus internship?
This was my second Erasmus internship at the Centre for Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO) in Porto. Last year I already worked at this institute for 3 months and started a project which I was able to finish in this internship. As I was about to finish my bachelor studies, I wanted to take the opportunity to combine the bachelor thesis with an Erasmus internship. I already laid the foundation for my bachelor thesis the previous year. Therefore, the writing of a scientific paper during this internship was in the foreground.
How did I get there and where did I live?
Like the year before I was mostly on the road with my camper van. Since my project deals with the distribution of a false limpet (intertidal snail), I was able to combine my arrival by car with field work in northern Spain. This allowed me to collect important data for my bachelor thesis and at the same time make my way to Porto. During this time, I mostly lived in my camper van. After I arrived in Porto, however, I looked for an apartment in the vicinity of Porto because I wanted to concentrate on writing my thesis.
What did I do:
In the first out of three months of my internship I was conducting a research field trip in Galicia (NW Spain) to collect data for my bachelor thesis. I was looking for an intertidal gastropod along the Galician coast to see if the distribution of this species changed compared to historical records and recent distribution studies. During this time, I was mostly on my own, and since I changed locations every day it was hard to meet new people. This changed when I started to work in the institute in Porto again. I knew some people from the year before and it was easy to get to know new people. The everyday life in the institute didn’t change much and so I settled in very quickly. My work generally consisted of the classical tasks that have to be done while writing a bachelor thesis, for example, literature work, data analysis and the writing of scientific texts. I enjoyed working with the research group, although it was sometimes challenging. Since I mainly worked on my bachelor thesis, I was able to manage my time relatively flexibly. This made it possible for me to take a long weekend off and get to know the Portuguese inland. A highlight of my stay was a visit to the Douro international nature park at the border to Spain. The atmosphere in more rural areas was noticeably different from that in Porto. Time seemed to run a bit slower there and thanks to this short break I was able to recharge my batteries for my project.
All in all, I am very happy with my 3-month Erasmus internship. I have learned a lot through my work at the institute, which will be very beneficial to me on my future academic path. Writing a thesis was challenging but with the help of the research group I was working with and fellow students I’m happy with the result. I was able to see my friends again and to meet new wonderful people. During my stay in Porto I could dive deeper into the culture of Portugal and especially the city of Porto. I really enjoyed my stay and I’m looking forward going back to Porto again.