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Stef Voermans - internship at NIFS

For three months I have been living in Japan and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It all started around April 2018, when I started looking for a place to go for my international internship. I knew I wanted to go abroad, preferably to the US or Japan. I got some contacts for research in Japan and made my choice based on the ease of access, as it would be very hard to find housing in Tokyo, and the research was a little less interesting. So I chose for my internship to be at NIFS in Toki, Japan. I applied for the FIE funding, FuseNet funding and for a visa. The funding of both parties helped me a lot with paying for the expenses of the travel to Japan and the costs of living there.

The time I spent traveling through Japan was really good, and by chance another physics student was in Japan at the same time and we travelled together for one of the two weeks. During this time my best experiences were clubbing in Tokyo and Osaka and hiking in the mountains near mount Fuji and on Miyajima island near Hiroshima.

Eventually my time travelling was over and I went to my internship location: the NIFS institute. The location of this institute was a bit isolated, it lay on a hill between two towns, which are of moderate size, but the nearest big city was an hour away. Luckily the public transport is good in  Japan and even though it was isolated, there were busses coming and going every hour or so. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of people of my own age at the internship. Some PHD students were present in the institute and I often had lunch with them, but they were often busy in the weekends. Luckily I made a new friend through the internet and we had some good weekends  together, going out in the big city of Nagoya, or going to amusement parks during the holidays.

These weekends, and weekends where I went on snowboarding trips with my supervisor made my stay better, as I would not like to spend my weekends working on my project as well. During the week I could spend a good amount of time on my project, working to analyse data of the Large Helical  Device, a Heliotron device. This analysis was on the tongue-shaped instability in the peripheral region  of the plasma. I was usually working in the control room of the institute, where my supervisor was also present half of the day. I could thus ask help whenever I needed it, and when he was not there, there were two other people who knew what I was doing and could help me. Every time I had new results I could quickly discuss them with my supervisor and know what part of the study I had to focus on next, which was something I really liked. Overall I am very happy how my internship has been, and if I had the chance I would do it all over again, only maybe choosing a more urban location.

- Stef Voermans