When I embarked on my journey to travel from Munich to Durham for six weeks, I kept wishing that I was already there. That I already knew my accommodation was okay, my colleagues at university friendly and my tasks neither mind-numbing nor overcharging. Upon arrival I soon realized that my accommodation was really nice – even though a bit far from city centre. And regarding my internship, not only did I immediately feel like part of a team with my two supervisors but I also had a great task, which I knew would benefit me greatly for my academic growth. Of course, designing, programming, recruiting, testing and analyzing EyeTracking data was not an easy task. However, with every error message that I managed to resolve by myself and with every additional student I successfully tested, my self-confidence grew and in the end I could actually present a well-working experiment and proper results. This feeling of accomplishment was further encouraged by the supportive feedback by my supervisors and the mutual brainstorming for new ideas to improve every little detail. I also really appreciated the open-mindedness of everyone at university regarding any question I had, which made me feel really welcome. Another aspect of my internship I thoroughly enjoyed was a weekly event, where researchers and PhD students listened to various talks by external scientists while having a glass of wine. Some of my most memorable moments however were surely made during the weekends, where I explored the beautiful surrounding areas like the seaside, Newcastle, York or Edinburgh. The only thing I felt was missing from my time in Durham was contact with other people inside and outside of work. Since I was mostly working on my own, had the office to myself for great periods of time and spent evening and weekends alone, I would have liked to e.g. have more regular meetings or eat lunch together. Altogether however, I had a wonderful time in this beautiful city, learned a great deal and met some truly lovely people.
Some advice for anyone thinking about a research internship at Durham University
- AirBnbs are a great way to stay at Durham – look for ones close to university and city centre
- Find a supervisor who is interested in the same topics as you are – there is really something for everyone here
- Take care of your network access beforehand – it takes a few weeks
- People at university (colleagues / reception) or in the tourist office in town will help you with any problems – just ask
- Use Durham’s amazing location to travel around the north of England – it’s worth it!