University of Twente Student Theses



Benjamins, Jeroen (2009) Waternish.

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Abstract:In the final year of the Master Mechanical Engineering the student needs to undertake an internship for three months. The internship serves to develop the skills of the student in the field and gives the student useful working experience for his future career. From the first of August to the first of November 2009 I was doing my working experience at Waternish Pty. Ltd in Adelaide, Australia. The year 2009 has been an important year to say the least. I was and still am in the final stage of my master’s degree Mechanical Engineering at the University of Twente. Only two more subjects and the internship of the final year were standing in my way on the road to graduation. I was hoping to go on an internship to Australia in July, finishing the subjects along the way or when I got back. Almost everything was already arranged and I was ready to go. Then suddenly, on the eleventh of June my father passed away at the age of sixty-seven due to massive heart failure. Now my father had suffered from Parkinson’s disease since he was only thirty-four and his illness had progressed since then. The loss in the family was great, we were devastated. Right before he passed away I had a talk with my father about going to Australia. He was excited and he said it was a great opportunity and that I should definitely go. He was gone but he would not be thinking any different about it now. So, I did go, I left on the thirtieth of July from Amsterdam and started working at Waternish for three months from August onwards. It was one of the hardest but best decisions I have ever made. This is what happened in short. A lot of things were needed to prepare the road for a good working experience in Australia. The first step is to decide if you actually want to go for the ‘international experience’ or the ‘professional experience’. In my eyes and at that current time in my life I found it very important to go away and go for the culture shock. Not to run away for what happened with my father, but also to have a break from the world in Enschede. I thought it was time, even before my father’s death, to have a change of scenery. Quality of the assignment was still important, but less important than when I would choose my graduation project. I thought the internship was a good way to develop my international and professional skills, while have a good time too. The choice for Australia was logical. I basically emailed all my family members everywhere, to ask if they knew people in the engineering field who would possibly have an internship for me. Luckily I had a couple of reactions, two to be precise and both from Australia. One was from my cousin, she knew someone who worked at Helix in Perth. I applied for the internship in the best way that I could think of. I internationalized my CV and wrote a letter to explain my background and motivation to go abroad. At the same time another cousin emailed me that he had a good friend who worked at a company called Osmoflow in Adelaide. A company that uses reverse osmosis to create drinking water from sea water. I had never met this cousin, but via him I came into contact with Neil, a project engineer at Osmoflo. By the time I received a rejection at Helix, Neil had already arranged an internship at Waternish. Needless to say I was very happy with it. However, approximately a month before I would leave, Neil came to me with the news that the internship was cancelled due to the worsening job market in Australia. There was no money for me at Osmoflo’s. I had extensive contact with Neil via email and luckily he still felt obliged to help me. He and my cousin are very good friends. Therefore he contacted a former colleague and subordinate of him who was the boss at Waternish, his name was Simon. Again I sent my CV and letter of motivation and he accepted. My working holiday VISA was arranged at a commercial bureau, called the Australian VISA bureau. Normally you can arrange a VISA at the Australian embassy, but at the time I needed it, their site was down. So I chose the more expensive commercial option, mainly to save important time. Of course, the purchase of a plane ticket was an expensive but trivial task. Housing was somewhat more of a challenge. Again, luckily, Vicki, the wife of my cousin could help me with that. She arranged for me to stay for four months at friends of hers: Sam and Kate. Two people who have become my friends for life. After my internship, but also during the weekends I explored the country Australia itself. During the weekends I would usually go out with my friend Sam or visit family and friends in Australia. A lot of my aunts and uncles live in Australia, and also good friends of my father. I had no trouble to fill my time. I had more than enough social obligations to say the least, which at that time was no problem at all. Since I had arranged a car, and was used to driving on the left I get to visit them all. I also met up with my roommate Anne when he finished in Adelaide with the SolarTeam Twente. We did the great ocean road together. And later on I arranged a tour at the east coast of Australia. A bus tour with 35 other international people, mainly from Canada. The latter was not a big success, because despite the fact I saw some interesting stuff along the way, it was very boring. We needed to cross a substantial part of the east coast in two weeks time and this meant that during the day we were stuck in the bus, and the night we spent partying. Also the tour guide treated us like children and we were not given enough freedom to do our own thing. Looking back I think that going to Australia was one of the best decisions I have ever made. But by the time I finished the east coast tour I was fed up by the sheer magnitude of new impressions. After four months I was starting to miss my family and friends back in the Netherland and it was time for me to back. Another lesson learned I guess, because these are the times you discover whether you’re susceptible to immigration to a foreign country. I guess I am, for four months, then I want to see the Dutch cows again.
Item Type:Internship Report (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:52 mechanical engineering
Programme:Mechanical Engineering MSc (60439)
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