An internship that opened the door for a bright future

Ms. Shiori Mizutani, 2nd year M.A. student at Kyoto University Department of Nuclear Engineering  stayed at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) for one and a half month (February 19th to March 28th) to do an internship. Kyoto University European Center supported her and we are delighted to hear of her wonderful experience.


Ms. Mizutani, before going to Karlsruhe haven’t you studied in Munich? Could you please tell us about the details on how you obtained the internship at KIT?

I planned to stay at Technical University of Munich (TUM) as an exchange student for one semester starting from October 2017. However, when the examination schedule was published at the end of December, I realized that the semester at TUM would already end in February. Therefore, I discussed the possibility of an internship with your office.


Ms. Mizutani with her tandem partner   Gathering with friends and fellow students in Munich

♦ Because of the friendly relationship between KIT and Kyoto University European Center via HeKKSaGOn, the negotiation for the internship went very smoothly and Dr. Erik Bründermann finally accepted your proposal. Your written self-introduction surely helped a lot.

The first draft I sent to you wasn’t that good, was it? (laughing) It was the first time I wrote a résumé in English. After I received your comments, I followed your suggestion and went to the English Writing Center at TUM to get advice in order to finish it.

(The English Writing Center is a service provided by TUM for all students and staff members. The first hour of consultation on English writing is free of charge.)

♦ What was it like to live and study at KIT?

I was lucky to get a room in an inexpensive student dormitory just paying 190 Euro per month. Even though I had my own room, I shared the kitchen, bathroom and shower with other students, which I came along with well. Life there was different from Munich, where I had my own apartment.

Every morning I went to the lab starting at around 10 o’clock having lunch in between. Until evening, I spent my time planning my work, having meetings or analysing computer programs. I learned a lot from taking the advice of my mentor Prof. Akira Mochihashi. He suggested me “try to find ‘something’ from your experience at KIT that you want to take home with you”.

Ms. Mizutani at KIT

For example. In the lab, they would let me analyse raw data by using images or graphs, and I didn’t really like programming in the past. But this has changed at KIT, which showed me its real value for my analytic results.  And my feeling of not being good at this had vanished. I think that is one of the many great things that I learned.


♦ What impressions are left, for example how was the mood in the laboratory?

It is about Munich, but the first thing which surprised me was that students have their own working places instead of group spaces. In addition, everybody was very fluent in English.

There were many Ph.D. students and the laboratories seemed to be managed by these students themselves. Probably because they receive a salary, the feeling of having to fulfil a duty and the need to contribute to the work of the laboratory was very strong. In the weekly meetings, remarks and proposals were also presented often from those Ph.D. students. Therefore, I have the feeling that they know many things beyond their own field of expertise.

Ms. Mizutani with her dorm mates at Karlruhe

♦ At last, what meaning does this internship experience have to you?

After returning to Japan, I applied for a job and got one at a world major Japanese electronic manufacturer (yet to be officially accepted). I told them that I went to a laboratory, which researches particle accelerators at KIT. Since that company is a manufacturer of particle accelerators, they very much appreciated the interview. ​I’m also delighted by the fact, that this company has a research hub in Munich and that I might have a chance to go back to Germany as part of my work.


♦ It really seems that this internship opened the door for your future. From here on we wish you much success and best luck for the years to come.