Besides being in Prague to see Michael, I was also there for the IAESTE Day 2008 celebrations in Prague on the 16th of October. IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) is the organisation I had gone to Prague last year through for my internship there, and I have been invovled with IAESTE before that both in Malta, where I was involved in the organisation, and abroad, via another internship I had gone the summer before to Konstanz, Germany, and for a seminar in Budapest.
IAESTE for me is a great organisation – through it science/technical students can get the opportunity to gain much needed work experience abroad in their area of studies. Through it I got two internships, one in a microbiology lab at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and another in Wood Conservation Science at the Institute for Chemical Technology in Prague. In these internships you get the opportunity to put to practice what you have learnt at the unviersity desks which is not possible just from books. Also, especially for Maltese students, you get the chance to live alone for a while and learn how to do things for yourself rather than rely on others. I was also involved with IAESTE in Malta, where i was Incoming Officer for one year and Finance Officer for another. Through my post as Incoming Officer in particular, I feel like I learned a lot – I was repsonsible for arranging the things for the students coming to Malta – from work permits and VISAs, to accomodation and first days at work. I also was in contact with a lot of employers around Malta, and if you do your job well, these can become important contacts for the future.
With IAESTE Day 2008 in Prague, Michael and I were asked to do a presentation for students who are thinking about going on an IAESTE internship next year. we didn’t have all that much time to prepare, and of course we left everything for the last minute, so Thursday morning saw Michael and I at two laptops working furiously at the presentation, since we only had around an hour and a half (he had family visiting in Prague, with whome we were to go have lunch).
It was good to be back with the ‘IAESTE crowd’. From my experiences with IAESTE I feel like with these people you can be sure that you will find people who are up for some good fun and are very friendly – you don’t fele like extracting teeth when talking to them! Giving a presentation was also good fun at least for me – where I could talk about what IAESTE has given me in – from experience, to friends, to challenges, and a boyfriend :D.
This presentation was in the afternoon. Then, in the evening, there was a presentation for employers who have accepted trainees, and other people connected to IAESTE.
Michael and I were invited to this, and Michael also had to give another presentation here. This was in the evening, and we had to go home to change, so he only had around 30mins to prepare his presentation!!!! (of course he had not started anything :P). However I think it worked out very well…It was nice to hear him talk about his experiences 🙂
The dinner was a very good experience as it gave me the opportunity to meet up again with the IAESTE Prague people who were around last year, and also this year’s IAESTE trainees still in Prague. One of the trainees last year was in Malta on an internship here, where I was the one to organise all her paperwork and take her to work on her first day – it was great to meet up again and talk. This was the girl whose sister I met in Palermo this summer – you start realising that through IAESTE the world is very small, and you keep on meeting people linked to it all the time. One of the guys from Prague giving a presentation had been to Budapest for his itnernship this year – and guess who was in his photos? My sister’s boyfriend! hehe 🙂
I also got the opportunity to meet the director of the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, where I was an intern last year. I was very surprised by him! Realising that we didn’t understand Czech, he immediately started tlaking to us in English, and returned to talk to us a couple of times. He was very approachable and friendly, even though he was a kind of big boss in the place. I really appreciated that.
Hmmm…I realise that this post looks/sounds very convoluted. Hope you get the drift though! It was a great day, and IAESTE is a great experience for whoever is into science/technical studies. Certainly do not regret being a part of it ever!