Experience 15 – ” The 12 weeks went by very quickly but getting to experience life in another country if only for a short period is an amazing experience.”
Posted: 24 August, 2017
It was during my third year at RCSI that, for the first time, the opportunity arose for Pharmacy students to participate in the ERASMUS program. Students would travel to the Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France in their fourth year and undertake their final year research project there. When I began at RCSI there was no ERASMUS program in place for Pharmacy students so I was really excited at this new prospect, especially since I had studied French at school. I was eager to spend some part of my degree studying abroad so I jumped at this chance and luckily ended up travelling to Nancy, which is a large student town with a strong ERASMUS base. I spent three months there while I conducted the research for my thesis…and ate my weight in croissants! I travelled with a fellow classmate and friend, Christine, we were the inaugural students of the program and therefore somewhat apprehensive heading out but we were determined to make the most of this fantastic opportunity. Our twelve weeks flew by and were delighted at how well everything worked out since we were forging the path anew. I carried out my work in a microbiology/virology lab under the supervision of a very inspiring and enthusiastic scientist, Mihayl. Our colleagues in the lab were so friendly and welcoming. Their passion for their specific areas of research rubbed off on us so much that I came home with a new found love for virology, an appreciation of the immense work that research entails, and an avid interest in further studies after graduation.
They went above and beyond for us: showing us around the town, involving us in their labs with the French pharmacy students, organising a tour for us around a French hospital’s pharmacy department, helping us with our projects, even hosting wine and cheese parties for us and tutoring us on our French vocab! We were kept busy in the lab during the week but made the most of our weekends exploring the town and surrounding areas. We went to the town markets sampling as many croissants and different cheeses as we could and also trying the local specialties like Quiche Lorraine, Tarte aux Mirabelles and macarons. I met lots of students from other countries through the ERASMUS Student Network, and there was always some festival or event on in the town centre every weekend which gave us the chance to explore the French culture. We took trips most weekends too visiting the nearby towns of Metz and Strasbourg, and then further afield to Luxembourg, Paris and Munich.
The 12 weeks went by very quickly but getting to experience life in another country if only for a short period is an amazing experience. I had such an incredible time on ERASMUS in France, and I’m so glad that this opportunity was available to me at RCSI; I would highly recommend it to any student offered the opportunity. It was one of the highlights of my degree where I met amazing people, experienced living in another country, visited beautiful places while having the chance to carry out interesting research contributing towards my degree.
Three years on from this experience I am now working as a pharmacist in the Mater Misericordiae Univeristy Hospital, Dublin after completing my internship here. I split my day between the Aseptic Compounding (Chemotherapy) service and the Drug Safety service. I really enjoy the diversity by day brings enabling me to be part of a team in aseptics and work on projects in drug safety with other stakeholders in the hospital. I love working in a large and progressive pharmacy department.