Toulouse is an ever-growing city expanding quickly due to its location (3h drive from the ocean, 2h from the Mediterranean sea and 1h30 from the Pyrenees mountains) but also because of its attractiveness for work and studies. Toulouse is home to the aerospatial and aeronautical industry in France, a lot of companies are working for airbus for example. But it is also a student-friendly city. In Toulouse, one in four inhabitants is a student: 118,000 of them have chosen what is also called the pink city, not only for its universities, its preparatory classes and its renowned grandes écoles but also for its abundant cultural life, the variety of its leisure activities and its affordable accommodation.
I did my practical training in France in a town located to the south of Toulouse, called Castanet-Tolosan. I worked at a research centre called INRAE (National Institute for Agronomical and Environmental Research). This research centre has been there for over 50 years. I remember visiting it with my school when I was a child. At this time it was surrounded by fields and a road. Nowadays it is surrounded by the city on one side and a water canal on the other.
I spent most of my free time in the nearby mountains to the south of Toulouse, especially in the Pyrenees. Where I have been hiking with friends a lot. I also made a few trips to the nearby medieval city of Carcassone
I cannot compare the working culture of Finland and France in the field of research as it is quite a specific area. but I can give an insight into how research works in France. It is a truly interesting area of work. You are never bored, there is always something new to do or a new idea to try. Research relies a lot on teamwork but also on inter-team cooperation and help. In research, you need others to go forward simply because everyone has their own area of expertise. Sharing information is key to a good workflow. One important point that I have learned during my practical training is that even if your make a mistake or your experiment fails there is always something interesting to learn from it. So, don’t have fear of mistakes and share information 😉