During the Spring semester of 2022, I have been attending and completing a Project Work of six months valid for the Marine Biobased Specialties research program. My studies were implemented and divided into 3 different periods. The first was the research period, 3 weeks were dedicated to the literature research and review of the topic assigned. During this period the aim was to search and analyze scientific articles with the aim to write a literature review to prove the understanding of the research topic and implement a project plan to follow in the following period. The second was the execution period which consisted of 3 months of laboratory activities related to the topic assigned. In my particular case, it was structured as 2 days of laboratory analysis and the 3 days as “office work” in which the results were analyzed and the reporting activities were initiated. The last period consisted of 3 weeks in which the team needed to create a poster and a presentation of the results obtained and illustrate and present the actual process during a conference, based on the final scientific report created during the execution weeks.
My spare time was dedicated to visiting The Netherlands as much as possible. I have been to different cities, from the more common ones to the unknown ones, dividing my experience between classic tourist attractions, such as panoramic boat trips, and more independent excursions such as getting lost walking around cities just to discover the little magical places that a city could hide.
The biggest difference I noticed is the organization of laboratory work at the university. While in Finland, at TAMK, students are not allowed to stand or work in the laboratory without supervision by a teacher or technician, in the Netherlands, they tend to make the student feel and be more responsible, giving more trust, leaving them to manage their own activity, and having anyhow always the chance to contact a supervisor and ask for help when and if needed. My experience is based only on research-based project work, so I am not aware if the system changes for the ones who take courses in the exchange program.