Internship testimonials

Testimonials

Are you a student actively searching for an internship? Or are you still unsure whether an internship is something for you? This is the place for you! Here, we like to share the experiences MaChT members had with internships in the chemical, materials and textile industry.

Are you a company who is on the look for an intern? Please, reach out to us so we can make your vacancy available on the website!

Here you can find the testimonials per company. Do you still have questions? No worries! Let us know and we will tell you all about our experiences personally!

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During the summer, I did an internship at Bexco, a leading manufacturer specializing in precision-engineered synthetic mooring, towing, and lifting ropes for offshore, marine, and industrial applications in Hamme. This internship provided me with a valuable opportunity to collaborate with the Research and Development (R&D) team of Bexco, marking my first experience with the industry.

For a period of five weeks, I was involved in a variety of projects, including the optimization of a test setup for evaluating the stiffness properties of basic yarns. Additionally, I conducted multiple tests in the laboratory, requiring hands-on experimentation. Analysing the test results afterward not only improved my expertise in Excel but also nurtured my critical thinking skills. Regular meetings with the R&D team were integral to this experience.

This internship challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, contributing significantly to the development of my social skills. In retrospect, it proved to be a valuable experience that not only broadened my knowledge of the industry but also added practical skills to my repertoire. I highly recommend pursuing an internship to gain insights into the field and prepare for future projects or jobs!

Pauline (summer 2023)

Are you wondering what daily life is like at a multinational company? Do you finally want to see how the theory you’ve been seeing in your bachelor is applied to real life problems? Are you having a hard time visualizing all those symbols on P&ID’s? Then an internship at Cargill is probably the right choice!

Cargill is a company located in the Ghent harbor that produces biodiesel. They do this by first crushing rapeseed or soybeans and then extracting the oil. Next, the oil is partly refined to make sure quality biodiesel can be produced. Of course these processes generate several wastewater streams, and the main goal of my internship was focused on a specific unit of the plant that treated this wastewater. From this unit, vapors where released that were very unpleasant for anyone close to it. One possible solution to this problem was building an extraction hood to remove the gases and it was my job to find a company that could provide and build such an installation. This meant I had to understand the process well at first, and then send a lot of emails and meet with company representatives. I really see this as a useful experience, since this is something that you will also have to do in an actual job as an engineer.

To fill up the gaps from the many waiting on response to my emails, I was also tasked with mapping what valves in the extraction part of the plant had already been painted red or green, which was done so that the operators can easily recognize whether a valve should be open or closed. This meant I had to mark every single valve on the P&ID’s, which may seem boring at first, but I think it was great to finally see the link between a simple line on a P&ID and a real tube. After finishing this, I also got several extra tasks (you know, things that would be useful, but are not important enough for a production manager to spend his time on). This involved building and testing a test-setup for an improvised filter cleaning system, drawing the final design for this system, programming in Excel, translating very technical documents…

As you can see my internship involved a lot of variety, which also meant I did a lot of things outside of my comfort zone. It was a great way to get some practical experience and see how many factors there are in play in an industrial setting. Of course you also hear a lot of things just by sitting in the same office as the production team, which is an additional way of seeing how a chemical process works in real life. As you have probably already noticed, I could keep talking about how useful I found my internship, so I can only recommend you very strongly to do one yourself and get a first glance at the chemical industry beyond the LCT. 

Thomas (summer 2023)

My internship in Austria was one of the best experiences in my life. For a while I wanted to go on Erasmus although a full semester abroad seemed just a bit too long for me. So when I discovered that IAESTE was organizing internships abroad, I knew immediately that I wanted to do it. Without hesitation I signed up and a little later I was told I could go. Thank goodness because I had some unforgettable moments! My internship lasted 6 weeks and went on at Montanuniversität in Leoben, in Austria. During my internship, I had to find a way to optimize the accuracy of classification of non-metallic inclusions using machine learning. Despite having a materials science background, this was something I had not really come into contact with before. This seemed a little scary at first, but I was very well guided, so in a short time I gained a lot of new knowledge. Of course, working was not the only thing I did! During my internship I got to know 5 incredibly sweet trainees from other countries. They came from India, Iran, United States and Slovakia. We travelled a lot together! On the one hand we arranged trips on our own and on the other hand we participated in activities organized by IAESTE. For example, together with IAESTE we went hiking near Salzburg, we participated in Prague Challenge and we went bowling and hiking with the local committee. Besides the activities organized with IAESTE, we also went with our group to Salzburg, drove to Bratislava, did several hikes, we went wall climbing, cooked together several times, etc. In short, we did a lot! All trainees also get a few days off. For 6 weeks, I had 3 days off, which gave me a lot of freedom. This way I could stay an extra day in Prague and I could also go to Vienna a day earlier. IAESTE internship was an unforgettable experience! Austria a wonderful destination! This internship has been nothing short of amazing, filled with learning, growth, and cherished memories 😊

Joanna (summer 2023)

Hello, my name is Emma and I did an internship at Solvay in Brussels. Throughout this 5 week experience, I had the opportunity to work with a lot of different people from several departments and countries. Because I got to work with 2 departments within Solvay, I was able to experience a lot of different things. From collecting and processing data in Excel and Minitab, to opening and installing a mold for injection molding. I also learned a lot from the technicians, although the language barrier was often a stumbling block. Continuing to try to communicate has personally helped me to build more self-confidence. Everyone took the time to really try to explain all kinds of things and answer all my questions. The formal chats were quickly exchanged for more personal conversations, which made me feel comfortable at Solvay very quickly. Stepping outside my comfort zone from time to time, really helped me to improve my personal and working skills. Overall, I had a pleasant experience where the days progressed very quickly. I would definitely recommend an internship to anyone!

Emma (summer 2023)

My internship at TotalEnergies was one of the more pleasant work experiences I’ve had so far! As a first-year master student I found myself to be in a dilemma about which career path to pursue after graduating, since I also want to do pro bono cases regarding social impact throughout the duration of my life. I always assumed life as an engineer at a chemical plant to be quite calm but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I joined the PETS team under supervision of my mentor, Felix, who really helped me with my projects, as well as other members of the team, and got to watch their daily enthusiasm in making the plant as optimally functioning as can be. I got to do follow-up projects (leak), software related projects, energy-related projects and, very important for me, I got the freedom to really ask questions and form my own opinion about the different projects. Aside from this academical aspect, I also really enjoyed working here because of the warm, kind and openminded people, who really put me at ease and made my input feel valued. And then I have not even started about the perks 😉 Shortly put; I would recommend working here to everyone!

Eveline (summer 2023)

My name is Thomas and I did an internship during the summer at Umicore Precious Metals Refining at Hoboken.  Umicore Hoboken is able to recycle 17 metals out of several things. Especially the precious metals (gold, silver, rhodium, etc.) are very important in our modern society. I did an internship at the smelter, which is actually the heart of the company. There I looked at the influence of the parameters of the lance, which they bring inside the reactor to create the whole process. I especially looked at the vibrations created during the process. The internship was mainly data analysis, but also observing the process and the smelter unit.

An internship is an excellent opportunity to experience the life inside a company. It’s a whole new world and impressive how much is involved. Beside the subject of the internship, the part of getting to know the company is even the most important one. The people at Umicore were also very nice, which made even my internship much better. Also never give up if some things can’t be found directly, there will be always some struggles and that’s in my opinion the most valuable way to learn!

Thomas (summer 2023)