Hey reader! If you are here I imagine you are either thinking about doing a summer internship at EPFL, or have done one and want to make sure that your blog post is still the best one (else, what are you doing here?). For the first category: to avoid wasting your time, I will immediately tell you that my internship was in Geneva – and not in Lausanne – because this is where the Laboratory of Neuroengineering (LNE) is.
The Laboratory of Neuroengineering (LNE)
At LNE, I worked on the processing and analysis of cortical recordings obtained while testing state-of-the-art visual prostheses, under the supervision of Prof. Diego Ghezzi. In short, I was on Matlab most of my time. Disclaimer: this doesn’t mean that that’s what you would do if you were there, the lab members form a very multidisciplinary team, including material scientists, computer scientists bioengineers and so on – and they do amazing work (check them out at here). One strong aspect of this lab was definitely the team. They are accessible, friendly and open to help and answer questions. I actually wanted to go to work each morning – and I did 95% of the time, even if we could work remotely! I also had the opportunity to present my work twice, once to the lab, and once to the entire Research Internship Program cohort. If you get the opportunity to do this, seize it, it will not only help you understand your work better but will also enhance transferrable skills. Highly gratifying.
Must do’s in Geneva (and around it)
As soon as you arrive, get yourself either a half-fare travel card or the seven25 pass, which you can get at the station. The first allows you to travel by train and public transports for half the price and the latter allows you to travel for free between 7pm and 5am (7am on weekends). Trust me it will save money even if you only do one or two city trips.
Which leads me to my second point. Do city trips. You are 1 hour away from Lausanne, 2 hours away from Bern, 3 hours away from Zurich (my favourite) and 45 minutes to 3hrs away from breath-taking mountains.
Tiny plus that I didn’t know where to add, buying a second hand bike was useful for me.
Okay, now back to Geneva. My top 5 were:
1. Les bains des Paquis, One of Geneva’s city beaches, a place also full of cultural events and good (cheapish) food.
2. Going down the Rhône river: Chack that other people are bathing , make sure you know where the last exit is and then you are safe to jump in the river and let the current transport you (there is also a popular bar at the last exit)
3. If you are there in August, Les Aubes , the festival from 6 to 7AM where locals gather to see the sunrise and listen to music.
4. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, very well done and everything is also in English. It’s actually just next to the United Nations so go check that out too.
5. Join a local sports team (that is if you like sports, any other local activity will do). It really helped me making local friends and feeling like I was part of the place.
The Research Internships Program is a great framework for a research internship (wow) and will allow you to meet interesting, multicultural people. Overall, I recommend. Good luck!
Livia Soro, Imperial College London
Laboratory of Neuroengineering (LNE), EPFL