A study abroad programme, even if it is for a semester, can be a rewarding experience
My dream of becoming a doctor started in my early childhood, perhaps because of the ‘doctor set’ toy I got to play with. I took biology as my major in my secondary school. As I learned the subject deeper, a fascination for genetics developed. As soon as I was out of school, I learnt about a undergraduate course in Genetic Engineering available only at SRM University in Chennai and I enrolled there.
SRM University has a semester abroad programme for students who wish to spend one semester at a university abroad. With the guidance of my HoD, professors and seniors, I decided to do my bachelor thesis abroad. I landed at the University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. UCC is among the top two per cent of universities in the world and a leading research institute in Ireland. I acquired a position in the lab with a studentship of €1500 for my work from January to May 2014.
My project involved studying the ‘formation of actinin nanostructures’ under the guidance of Dr. Kellie Dean and Dr. Paul Young at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. The department was equipped with all instruments, and the scholars present there were helpful. My guides and the lab attendants were friendly, and they made me feel as if I was in my home institute.
The Indian Society at UCC is very active. We, a host of Indians, celebrated all the festivals that coincided with my stay. I also had the privilege of walking down the Parade on one of the most celebrated days in Ireland — St. Patricks Day. On this day, various countries and groups display their act and march a parade.
Cork is a city of beauty and silence. The silence is often broken by the sounds of the waters of River Lee that runs through most part of the city. Right from the taxi drivers to the random people I met on the streets, everyone was friendly and was asking about my views on the city and my life in India. The weather in Ireland was so different. It would be sunny one minute and the next moment it would rain. But then once you settle down, it is the most beautiful place and is a must-visit place for nature-lovers.
I am looking forward to pursuing my Master’s in Molecular Cell Biology and Bio-innovation at UCC this Fall.
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