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Pakistan

Pak

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Isabella


Home country

Austria

Internship city and country

Islamabad, Pakistan

Internship employer

National University of Science and Technology

University study field

Biotechnology

Year of internship

2019

Internship length

9 weeks


Work

I worked on an interesting research project in the department of plant biotechnology of the university. Plant samples had been collected from the mountains of Pakistan and my project was to analyse a plant by extracting the DNA, amplifying certain marker regions with PCR and sequencing the DNA to be able to find alignments in the database in oder to identify the species. The identification was completed with a morphological analysis under the microscope. It was very interesting for me to be part of a research project like that, and I thoroughly enjoyed working in the lab together with my nice colleagues, who made the long waiting times of molecular work more fun.

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Experience

I was living in a hostel on the campus of the university. My room was very nice and the food super delicious (although I have to add that the other foreigners could not handle the spiciness of the Pakistani food - fortunately there was also special food provided for them). At the university, there were many international interns from various other internship programs, and they had planned many (more or less fun) trips for us. It was great to get to know all of them, I found some good friends there! I was also able to find many Pakistani friends and their hospitality was overwhelming. Thanks to them, I was able to have amazing experiences like visiting Pakistani weddings, celebrating Eid, visiting various cities of the country or traveling north to the beautiful mountains. I am really grateful towards all the great Pakistani friends who made this internship absolutely amazing for me.

Discover

Pakistan is a country completely different than any other country I had been to before. There were many cultural differences that I struggled with and couldn't understand, and I have to admit that I felt very angry at times. Time is a different concept there, punctuality doesn't exist. I had to get used to waiting a lot, but eventually I was able to stay relaxed while doing so. I also had many struggles with understanding a society which treats women very differently than what I am used to, but it was definitely interesting to hear the opinions of people about this topic, as well as religion. Additionally, I also got to understand that people making the rules can change them anytime for their benefit; and payment is understood differently there. I learned so much since I had so many experiences so different than in Europe - good and bad. I was completely thrown into cold water at first, without being told any rules of the hostel, campus or country, making many mistakes and getting into trouble for it without knowing it, and not being told about who the responsible people were. After a month of being ignored, I got to know who should have been responsible for my questions. Overall, I think those experiences taught me how to be patient and calm, and I learned a lot about communicating with people that have a very different view of the world. I would definitely say that this internship was really great, although I did struggle several times. I learned so much and I really had a great time as well thanks to all the kind people I met there!