My name is Yannick, a Dutch student doing my BSc in Chemistry at HZ University of Applied Sciences, with a specialization in Life Sciences. Currently, I am doing my graduation internship in Brazil, where I will stay for six months in total. I have been in Ouro Preto for three weeks now and enjoying life to the fullest!
Why did you choose an internship in Brazil?
The reason why I choose an internship in Brazil is that I have always loved to travel. Doing an internship abroad is one of the few opportunities in life where traveling abroad for a long period is possible. I have never been to South America, so when the Living Lab offered this internship, I grabbed it with both hands.
What is the subject of your internship? Can you already tell us something more about it?
I work in the lab of pathophysiology and anatomy at the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP). This lab mainly focuses on research regarding the effects of specific anesthetics used in clinical practice (Ketamine, Isoflurane, Fentanyl) on organs. On top of that, this lab focuses on the evaluation of Mechanical Ventilation (a tool used in clinical practice during acute or chronic respiratory failure) on the lungs and brains.
Since I’ve only been here for a few weeks, I haven’t started my own research project. The Professor wants me to get familiar with all laboratory techniques used in the lab before starting my own project.
How did preparations go before your trip?
It was very hectic. A lot of documents are needed before you are allowed to enter Brazil. And I mean A LOT. Since I procrastinated a lot, it was a very stressful and chaotic few months before I left, especially since I was also doing my internship at the same time. But I believe if you start on time (unlike me :p), it is very doable.
What tips do you have for students who want to go to Brazil?
The first tip I have, and this is the most important one: please follow a Brazilian Portuguese course before you come here. Hardly anybody here speaks English, except for some students and Professors. I did not follow a course beforehand and had a very difficult time the first week since everything works completely differently here.
Secondly: save enough money for the preparations and start on time gathering the needed documents for the VISA. Literally, every document you need will cost you money to receive. On top of that, most documents need to be legalized, which, of course, also costs money. Once you are in Brazil, it’s all good though, life is very cheap here.
Finally, make sure you bring some good quality shoes. Unlike the Netherlands, this city (Ouro Preto) has a lot of hills. I arrived with just my sneakers, and my feet got beat up the first week. You will get used to it after two weeks though, and the hills allow for insanely beautiful views! It’s like living inside a painting.