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Nigeria

Nga

Nigeria+ +marie+demey

Marie Demey


Home country

Belgium

Internship city and country

Benin City, Nigeria

Internship employer

University of Benin City

University study field

Biology

Year of internship

2018

Internship length

8 weeks


Work

I enjoyed my internship in the University of Benin, Nigeria. I helped with mushroom-related research of a bachelor student and wrote my own research project on how plant extracts could be used as insect repellents. The biggest challenge of my internship itself was that during working hours, there was often no power. In Belgium, I am used to work in a lab that has a lot of professional equipment. In Nigeria, I learned so much on how to work without the help of fancy equipment. I used microscopes that had a mirror to catch the sunlight and instead of using an autoclave, I had to make a fire outside to heat my soil. You really learn to be more inventive and to think outside the box.

Nigeria+ +marie+demey

Experience

At first, I experienced a quite heavy culture shock. Everything is different at first. The food was really spicy, there was not always power in the house, you have to sleep in the same bed with someone you just met… The first week, I really had to get used to everything. But once you start to get used to it, everything is just amazing. I especially enjoyed the weekend trips with the IAESTE group. As a biologist, I loved the different nature landscapes across the country.

Discover

I learned that I can go somewhere by myself and everything will be fine. You learn to trust other people you just met more easily, something I had trouble with before I did my internship. I also spoke to a lot of people who don’t have the western mentality, which made me think more critical about different subjects. When you stay in your own western bubble, your perspective on things is often not challenged or questioned.