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Great Italian adventure

'Outside of work, I like to explore Parma with the other trainees.' - says Laura Kirwan form Irland, EFSA intern.

Why did you choose a traineeship in the program at EFSA? 

I chose the traineeship program at EFSA because I knew that, if accepted, I would be contributing towards the protection of the health of consumers across Europe, as well as having the opportunity to develop my expertise and expand my professional network in a multi-cultural and diverse environment. I knew that I would have the opportunity to develop my scientific knowledge and skills in a wide range of areas, and would gain experience in an area that I am eager to pursue a career in. The chance to move to Italy and to explore a new country also appealed to me. 
Was the application process difficult? 

No, I found the application to be very straight forward and easy to follow. EFSA were quick to respond and I was always kept informed of the status of my application which I think is important as you always know where you stand. 
What did you do during the traineeship? 

Although I’m still in my traineeship, I have already been involved in numerous working groups which allow me to expand my professional network with experts from different scientific areas and backgrounds, learn new aspects on multiple topics and be involved in forming EFSA’s scientific outputs. I am also working on the RAC model with EFSA’s Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR) which I find really to be really interesting. This is allowing me to further my skills in IT, statistics and data which I find challenging yet rewarding. 
What was the most interesting and the hardest task for you? 

The most interesting task has been participating in the working groups. I find the discussions very interesting and I am learning different opinions on a wide array scientific subjects. The hardest task I’ve found is getting used to new statistics software and the large datasets but my manager is very helpful and available if I need help.
Does every trainee have a tutor in the department where they is being trained? 

Yes, every trainee is assigned a line manager who is in their unit.
How did you spend your time outside of work? 

Outside of work, I like to explore Parma with the other trainees. Aperitivo is cheap, fun and filling and the trainees usually go once or twice a week after work or on weekends. Parma is a friendly, lively and is easy to integrate into as a city. The trainees have a close community so we usually go on trips at the weekends. The train is cheap and punctual so travelling to Venice, Pisa, Florence etc. is affordable, convenient and a lot of fun. 
Is the trainee's salary sufficient? 

Yes, I think the cost of living in Parma is quite low so the salary is sufficient. 
Did the traineeship help you to find a job you were interested in?

The trainees before me have all found jobs they were interested in. 
What would you say to people who would like to apply for a traineeship at EFSA?

To apply - it’s a great experience and you won’t regret it!


Interview by Agnieszka Góralczyk


Published: Fri, 26/01/2018 - 18:32

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