Photo: Emma Carlsen. Image by Timur Sabirov.
Global Campus gives foreign students the opportunity to come to Skoltech for 12 weeks to do an internship, learn Russian, experience Russian culture, the Moscow nightlife, and travel around the country. This year’s fall track finished up yesterday (November 28); the winter track begins on January 20, 2020. We had three students for the fall track: Emma Carlsen (US), Madison Nestripke (US), and Jayani Try (United Kingdom).
Emma Carlsen, an American chemistry student of Brigham Young University (BYU), Utah, came to Skoltech in September to join the Global Campus program. It was her first time in Russia and she discovered Global Campus after getting an email from her chemistry department about STEM internships abroad.
“I wanted to have an experience abroad but do STEM and chemistry at the same time. I went to the informational meeting and here I am!”
Asked about why she chose Russia, Emma said that she didn’t know of any other internships where she could do something chemistry-related abroad, and Skoltech was the first one she heard about.
“So far I really like it and have found it engaging. I have been able to contribute to some research that my group has been working on. My group assigned me a project where I’m collecting data, so it’s been cool to be a part of it.”
Emma is working on a project at the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology, where they are doing di-electric impotent spectroscopy measurements on water and alcohols to gather information about physical properties that they can then use to develop a model for how water and similar compounds interact.
“Everybody there works hard, but it’s a relaxed environment and the people are friendly. It feels open and inviting. Jay, my housemate who is also doing Global Campus, is in the same lab. We have a French supervisor, Henni Ouerdane, and the rest of our colleagues are Russian. We all go to lunch together every day.
It’s hard to pick what I like most about Global Campus. I love being in Moscow, because there is so much to do to keep you entertained for as long as you want, but you also stay engaged. The internship has allowed me to develop a new skill set in the area I’m interested in, which is physical chemistry.”
Emma described her experience of learning Russian as challenging, especially regarding the language structure, but enjoyed learning how the grammar works. She had already studied some Arabic and Spanish, and so is no stranger to languages.
“We met with Russian students who had volunteered to do language exchanges with international students. That was a useful way to practice the language and get to meet people at the same time.”
During her time here, Emma and the two other Global Campus students visited Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, which is located 600 miles to the east of Moscow on the Volga River.
“We also went to St. Petersburg for a trip; Maddie [Madison Nestripke] already lived there for 18 months, so she knows it well,” said Emma about her roommate.
Her advice to a prospective Global Campus student is to be self-motivated in order to make the most of the internship.
“I think that if they are interested in pursuing any sort of research internship and are pretty self-motivated, then in coming here there are so many different things that you can experience. It’s definitely something that I would recommend.”
Emma has now gone back to the United States to finish her studies at BYU, but we hope that her words will spread to other students thinking of taking a STEM internship abroad.
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