Maria Alejandra Murcia

Maria Alejandra Murcia
Colombia
September 2015 – 2017
UPC: Barcelona

I am a PhD student at University of Amsterdam. This job allows me to strengthen my skills as researcher within an industrial focus and that is something I find very valuable. The international experiences I got from AMASE had been of great use to help me adapting to this new country.

Current job
Give a short description of where you work (company, country) and what you do there.
PhD student at University of Amsterdam. I am currently working as a researcher within the Industrial Sustainable Chemistry group at the UVA and the dutch company Avantium. The project I’m developing is a Spire -European project in which I’m in charge of studying synthesis routes for polyesters derived from CO2 and its potential applications. This job allows me to strengthen my skills as researcher within an industrial focus and that is something I find very valuable. The international experiences I got from AMASE had been of great use to help me adapting to this new country.
Why did you choose AMASE?
Your motivation for choosing the programme (e.g. seeing different cultures, learning new languages, expanding your engineering/material science knowledge, international studies experience, etc.).
I saw in AMASE the chance to acquire international skills that are very valuable nowadays for an engineer. Improving my skills in other languages and getting more experience on intercultural relationships was also part of this step. Ultimately, I knew this master would open a set of new options to develop my carrer.
Did you experience any special moments during the programme? Tell us about them!
These can be funny/interesting/memorable experiences at the partner universities or in the study country.
During my second year, while studying in France, I got the chance to give a talk at an annual seminar of the GFP (French Group of Polymers). Presenting in french for a big group of experts was very intimidating but at the same time made me realize how much I enjoyed being in this kind of environment. It was after this event that I decided to pursue a PhD.
What did you learn/experience during your time in the programme?
You could write about your experience at the universities (students, courses, material science studies, etc.) or your time in the different countries (cultures, people, etc.).
At the UPC in Barcelona, I felt almost at home. People are very welcoming and feel very proud to share their culture with you. The University itself was very international so it was also easy to meet people going through similar experiences than me. At the EEIGM in France, I really felt that my French improved fast and efficiently. I learned to incorporate the language in every possible aspect of my daily life to the point that following courses, taking notes and exams in French didn’t feel strange to me anymore.
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