The International Antarctic Institute (IAI) is a global consortium of universities and agencies that provide university-level education and conduct research in Antarctica.
The IAI offers international opportunities in Antarctic undergraduate and postgraduate multi-disciplinary education by sharing teaching resources between international partner universities. We are also developing new and innovative Antarctic courses and pathways between degrees to encourage student and staff mobility.
French student gained research experience in Australia through IAI internship
From: Paris, France
Nina is originally from Paris, and currently studies in Brest as a masters student at Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM). She considers herself a marine chemist. She also has a good understanding of oceanography from her past studies.
Several months before graduation, Nina found an opportunity to gain some experiences on paleoceanography. At the end of 2012, Nina came to Hobart, Australia, and started a 7-month internship with Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania, supervised by Dr. Zanna Chase, a chemical oceanographer. The internship project involved an investigation of past climates by analysing chemical compounds in the sediments. Sediment samples were collected from Tasmania and New Zealand before Nina’s arrival. Nina chemically extracted the dust from these sediments in the laboratory. By analysing the size of the dust particles, and their trace metal concentrations, she was able to explain where the dusts came from, and by which currents they were transported.
During a previous internship, Nina used the same method to extract dusts from European sediments. Although the methods were the same, the experiences were completely different for Nina. She was especially impressed by the different teaching styles in Tasmania. Compared to France, supervisors in Australia were more like colleagues than teachers, they were open to discussions, provided advice, but did not show a direct way to do things. In Hobart, Nina needed to be more independent and made most of decisions on her own. It was terrifying in the beginning, but Nina appreciated all the challenges and built up her professional skills quickly.
Besides work, Nina also enjoyed the busy life in Hobart. “It feels like Brest, small and quiet. It is also by the sea, but there are beautiful mountains as well! There are so many things to explore.” Nina was not confident with her English when she first arrived, but she was always willing to make new friends and never said no to adventures in the wild.
Nina is now considering starting a PhD after her masters. With knowledge and experiences from her study and practice, Nina decided she wants to know more about palaeogeography.
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