Having known how amazing SEP can be from being a Local Exchange Officer (LEO) in Poland,
I decided to go on SEP this summer. Once on SEP, always on SEP, and therefore my SEP
adventure has not finished after I quit studying Pharmacy back home, and moved to the
Netherlands to study College of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
In the summer of 2018, I was selected to go to Porto, Portugal, an enchanting city located
along the River Douro. During my 14-day internship at the Department of Chemistry,
University of Porto, I was analysing the samples using an Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass
Spectrometry (ICP-MS), which is an analytical method commonly used to detect metals at
concentrations as low as 10 -12 (ppb). During my internship, I determined the concentration of
heavy metals in the blood, urine and hair samples of a group of patients, which was a part of
a double-blinded, randomised study on the effect of the presence of heavy metals on the
development of neurodegenerative diseases.
Apart from doing an internship in one of the Portuguese laboratories, I got to know people from all around the world and travel hundreds of kilometres whilst discovering Portugal. Visiting the wine cellars of Sandeman was an absolute must, since that is what Porto is famous of! Crossing the Dom Luis I Bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel to go to the Morro Garden located in the nearby city – Vila Nova de Gaia to enjoy the sunset, became one of our favourites activities!
One weekend, the exchange officers throughout Portugal organised a “SEP weekend”, where all of the exchange students in Portugal went to Guimarães – the city where Portugal was born. We all had an unforgettable time full of activities! The Portuguese student association APEF did their best to make us feel at home! I cannot describe how grateful I am to have met them on my way!
The most important thing I have discovered in Portugal is that there is no such thing as too much Sangria, you should start every day with a cup of coffee and Pastéis de Belém, and that I should take an extra suitcase to bring back as much port wine as I can next time I visit Portugal!