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Why gain international experience?

Sina Saxer tells us about her international experiences and why she supports students on stays abroad.

"All your experiences during a stay abroad are important. How do I cope on my own, in a completely foreign culture, in a totally different laboratory? What is it like to be a foreigner? You will learn a lot in a short time, sometimes positive, sometimes difficult, but most of all you will learn about yourself and your country."

This is what Sina Saxer tells students who go abroad during their studies. Changing your perspective and broadening your horizons is very important to her.

Sina is a research assistant for nanomaterials and surfaces and a lecturer in chemistry at the FHNW School of Life Sciences (HLS). Her first international work experience was at the age of 18. After an apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant, she took the chance to work for Ciba Specialty Chemicals in Alabama for a year. Looking back, it was still one of the best experiences of her life! Her subsequent studies took her to Linköping, Sweden for six months and on to Los Angeles to the University of California (UCLA) for a two-year post-doctorate. She still maintains those contacts today and has connections in the USA, Germany and Australia.

Also in her current position at the HLS, it is important for Sina Saxer to have an international network and to run research projects with international partners. "Our developments in research and industry long ago ceased to play a role only within Switzerland" she says. "International exchange drives innovation and is vital for researchers. Meeting different cultures, as well as being open to other ideas and approaches, already plays a major role for young researchers."

Her own experiences and contacts she has made motivate her to make the same opportunities possible for her students.

I would definitely like to deepen collaborations to enable more students to spend time abroad. In the future, I would also like to involve industrial partners.

Sina Saxer at the textiles market in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Student exchange is encouraged and supported at the HLS. Would you also like to gain international experience? Contact the International Office today at aW50ZXJuYXRpb25hbC5saWZlc2NpZW5jZXNAZmhudy5jaA==.

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Would you like to study abroad for a semester or do your thesis project outside Switzerland? Find out all you need to know here.

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FHNW School of Life Sciences

FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland School of Life Sciences Hofackerstrasse 30 CH - 4132 Muttenz
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