In this blogpost, Charlotte Linley (aka Lottie) shares her internship experience at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Belgium. Students of the Environmental Pollution Management (Ecotoxicology) Program complete an 8-week internship each year, the so-called “AMEO”. The AMEO is performed either at an external university, governmental or industrial research institute where students learn to apply the competences achieved during their study. Students also use this opportunity to travel and explore not only Germany, but also other countries.
“Hello, my name is Lottie and I spent 2 months in Belgium doing my AMEO at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Oostende, on the Belgian coast. VLIZ is a marine centre and I worked in their ecotoxicology department on an ongoing project investigating the impact that microplastics have on the marine ecosystems. I worked on developing a sound method to measure oxygen consumption and filtration rate, with the test species Nitokraspinipes (a plankton). Most days consisted of running preliminary tests and then analysing this data to solidify methods, as well as maintaining the plankton and algal cultures.
Regarding my life outside work, I lived in Brugge and fell in love with this charming medieval city. There is a lot to do for tourists in Brugge and I made the most of free resident admission to most attractions; my favourite of which was exploring inside one of Brugge’s windmills as it was milling. I had never been to Belgium before so tried to make the most during the weekends to visit different parts of the country.
The weather was also surprisingly hot (I’m British for reference) so I enjoyed lots of beach picnics and swimming in the sea.
Overall, choosing VLIZ for this internship was one of the best decisions I made; I loved it there. I gained important experience and most importantly it inspired me and gave me confidence that I am on the right path with ecotoxicology.”
Here are some beautiful glimpses from Lottie’s AMEO:-