What's it like working from home?

13 March 2021 - People

Hugo Bohy from the Faculté Polytechnique of the University of Mons recently joined the Kloosterman lab as an intern. Camille Elleaume, student at EPFL in Switzerland, just completed a 4.5-month internship in the Bonin lab. We asked them about their experience as an intern during the covid crisis.

Camille came to NERF to do a multidisciplinary project that would enable her to immerse herself in the world of scientific research. “I was really interested to discover first-hand the complete process from the experiment to the analysis of the results,” she says.

Hugo Bohy was tipped by his supervisor at the University of Mons about the interesting research at NERF. He rented a room in Leuven but admits he has only been on campus once. “I got a tour of the labs with a visitor pass,” he shares.

Doing an internship while the county is in semi-lockdown wasn’t always easy. “Not knowing anyone in Belgium and being able to spend a limited amount of time in the laboratory made it difficult to integrate fully. Collaboration with others via videoconference is not the same as seeing each other face to face,” says Camille.

"Even though it is not the same working from home, being part of NERF has been a really exciting and interesting experience so far and I am happy to be on board."

Hugo regularly consults his direct supervisor. He has a fortnightly meeting with his PI to discuss progress. “Everyone is very nice and it’s working quite well so far. Most of my work is behind a computer anyway, but of course it would be different being on campus.”

As Camille learned, even office work can be nicer if you have company. “Maybe it would have helped me to stay more motivated to accomplish my coding tasks,” she says. “Finding helping hands from time to time would also be more spontaneous compared to reaching out digitally.”

But, as Hugo highlights, it is the price we all pay in order to protect each other from covid. “I totally understand why we need to work from home. And even though it is not the same, it has been a really exciting and interesting experience so far and I am happy to be on board.”

Interns Externally
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