SEA-EU Master Internship through the eyes of a student

During a two-month internship at the University of Gdańsk, Loïc Madec from the University of Western Brittany boarded the UG ship r/v Oceanograf, took part in aerosol research and learned how to make pierogies. The French student is one of the first participants of the SEA-EU Master Research Internship program at the University of Gdańsk. What are his impressions?

– Why did you decide on the master internship?

Loïc Madec: – I decided to participate in this internship, because there were a lot of people involved in this project. In my case this a cooperation between University of Gdańsk, University of Western Brittany and CEDRE, an association expert in treating polluted waters. Working with all those actors was very valuable to me. The collaborative aspect of this internship allowed me to understand different ways of conducting research. I was also interested in the subject “Behaviours of the pollutants at the interface of air and sea waters”.

– Was it a difficult decision? 

– No. I’ve wanted to go abroad for a long time. At first, Poland wasn’t what I had in mind. I didn’t know a lot about your country. But during the past two months I took classes on how to make pierogies, I visited many museums and discovered a lot of Polish history. I learnt a lot during my stay about your culture and people who live here.

– What were you responsible for during your Internship?

– I analysed the contamination content of PM1 and PM2.5 aerosol fractions  (aerodynamic diameter of 1 µm and 2.5 µm respectively).  Those are very small particles that can go directly into the lungs and cause health issues. We compiled all the data that I’ve collected since September 2023 to January 2024 in the port of Brest, and looked at the general statistics. We are trying to find out if there is some correlation between pollutant data, meteorological data and ship movement data.

– What was the most important lesson you learned during your internship? 

– I learned to stay open and curious, because, when you are abroad, the behaviour of people is different. Sometimes there could be some misunderstanding that you cannot predict. I had to stay open to understand why someone is behaving that way and not rely on first impressions.

– What surprised you the most about Polish culture? 

– I’ve been very surprised by the Polish welcomeness. I met a lot of people, making me discover their favourite part of Poland, and accompanying me to restaurants to try local specialities, even sometimes discovering some places together. It was wonderful! Also, I discovered that Polish people are very dedicated to their work. It occupies a special place in their lives. But without forgetting what truly matters. They live life at 100 %!

– Would you encourage other students to participate in the SEA-EU Master Research Internships project?

– Yes, of course. By going far from your home, you learn much more about the world and consequently about yourself. It’s a good way to leave your comfort zone and find out how you react to a situation that is not common for you. I really like how this internship was organised, because the supervision is divided between the University of Gdańsk and University of Western Brittany. This way, I’m able to learn more about the research methods in both institutions.

– How important was your mentor during this internship?

– I had two mentors during this internship. In Poland, my mentor was prof. Anita Lewandowska, and her role during this internship, was crucial. I wouldn’t be able to do this research if she wasn’t there. She took time to introduce me to Polish culture. Her advice was very useful for me and our discussions about this project were very interesting. In France, my mentor was prof. Matthieu Waeles. I’m very thankful to him for giving me flexibility on how to organise my internship. His advices has been very useful to me. With them and some other students involved in this research project, we formed great bonds. It was super to work with such kind people.

– What is the first thing you’ll do when you get back home?

– I’ll make pierogies for my family. I hope they’ll like it, because I like this dish very much.


aut. Marcel Jakubowski (Press Office UG)

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