ESR Blog

The aftermath of traveling

The best summary of the last eight months would be my love-hate relationship with my luggage. Since every few weeks, I had to go somewhere new, I always had to have it at hand. This was a daily reminder that I was leaving in a few days, meaning hours by train or on a plane, managing tickets, eating on the road, and the worst, more goodbyes. But it was also a reminder that a new chapter was coming: new people, new places, and new adventures. Between three secondments, conferences, vacations with friends, and short visits to Halle, I felt I was always arriving or about to leave. Therefore, I feel blessed by science to have managed to meet the most amazing groups of people.

A very unexpected part of the secondment was the eye-opening time at SIMUNE. This industrial secondment completely changed my perception of what it means to work for a company. The team welcomed me in a very natural process and gave me the tools and time to learn the basics of their project. We were able to finish the secondment with a working feature on their code, which, aside from the feeling of success, showed me the complete process of implementing new features into an existing code. From reading to writing documentation and reviewing good coding practices, my coding is now at a whole new level. I discovered the fun and excitement of going from the planning to the final product with a user-oriented goal, which comes with challenges that an academic paper will never see. The biggest surprise was the day-to-day working process, which included a lot of teamwork to solve minor problems quickly, daily update meetings, and weekly demo presentations. This showed me a whole new strategy to work on a project. On top of that, the connections we built through teamwork, problem-solving, and commenting on small stuff during the short but lovely coffee breaks are something that helped me work confidently.

Nanogune group

Of course, all of these fun and productive times were alongside the recovery from the knee surgery a few months before going to Spain. This process was particularly eased by the beautiful beach in Donosti, the location of my first two secondments. Swimming in “La Concha” and “Ondarreta” was the best I could have done to train my leg muscles. Now I am fully recovered, even though I still need a few more sessions of physiotherapy, I can finally enjoy long bike rides and, who knows, maybe a run every now and then.

Spintec group

Not everything during the secondments was about working in SIMUNE, nor drinking and eating delicious local products in Donosti and Grenoble. I was also trained in various sample production techniques and benefited from incredible discussions, where I now understand my calculations from a whole new perspective from an experimental point of view. We also got two very interesting ideas for collaborating with the theoretical group at Spintec.

As always, I cannot be happier with how the project is going and cannot wait to see how my life is going for my next blog post. Prost, Salud, and Santé to Halle, Donosti, Grenoble, and the SPEAR program!!

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