Natalia Gebara from Poland started on her iPLACENTA PhD project at the University of Turin last week. Impressions from her first days...
When many people think of visiting Italy they usually have Rome, Florence, Naples in mind. I was in the same mindset until I arrived in the hidden gem of northern Italy, Torino. The city is in the Piedmont region and is surrounded by western Alps providing a breath-taking view of the mountains in various points of the city....
As Torino is Italy’s 3rd biggest city the airport flies to many destinations all over Europe thus allowing an easy trip for getting to and from UK and other places. The city’s public transport is excellent however coming from England, Italy just like other Mediterranean counties the purchase of tickets for public transportation can prove to be sometimes quite complex as I quickly found out. The tickets for buses and trams can be only purchased in Tabaco shops, which as a new comer from a country where tickers are always sold on buses or at the stations was quite strange to begin with, though it is possible to purchase a monthly public transport card which saves you from trying to figure out the points of sales.
The first few days consisted of trying to navigate the city in order to find the nearest shops and get to know the area. Having come from always living in small towns, it was exciting being able to discover different parts of Torino and how lively and cultural the city is.
Being a part of Erasmus network of students on social media enabled me to go out on the first few nights and meet students from different parts of the world. Not many international students which come to university of Torino study sciences.
The first days at the Molecular biology centre, where the laboratory is located, consisted of meeting everyone working there and getting to know the centre. As always first days bring a massive amount of bureaucracy to be completed which in Italy can be sometimes very slow, bracing yourself in patience is the best approach.
I have also had the chance to attend a ‘D-Day’ which is poster a presentation day of final year PhD students, it consisted of two brilliant lectures one particularly interesting on kidney transplants and robotics as well as later in the day a lunch and some spare time to see all the posters.
Overall my experience so far has been good considering that the first days at any new job especially when you have just moved to a new country can be a bit shaky and scary, it always helps to have great people to work with and being open to go out and make friends makes a big difference too.
About the blog
Being a PhD student in a European training network is a life-changing adventure. Moving to a new country, carrying out a research project, facing scientific (and cultural) challenges, travelling around Europe and beyond… Those 3 years certainly do bring their part of new - sometimes frightening - but always enriching experiences.