Intern Abroad

Archive for July, 2022

My experiences in Sweden

July 19th, 2022 | by
  • Electrical Engineering M.Sc.
  • Sweden, Linköping
  • Ionautics AB
  • 02/2022 – 06/2022


In the following I will report about my internship abroad with Erasmus+ in Sweden, which I conducted in the 4th semester of my Master’s studies in Electrical Engineering.

Preparation and search for an internship

Before I started my internship, I already did an Erasmus study semester in Stockholm at the KTH. Therefore, my start in the internship was probably very

© Max Renner

© Max Renner

different to most other people who come directly from their home country, because I was living in Stockholm already since August 2021. My studies ended in January 2022. However, I wanted to stay longer than half a year and for that an internship was the perfect possibility, since it is a mandatory part of my Master’s studies anyway. So, in January, shortly before the Erasmus studies ended, I began looking for an internship. Very important to know about internships in Sweden is that they normally do not exist in the form they do in Germany. Most companies only offer Master’s thesis opportunities and internships only during the summer months in a fixed context. Internships in the normal working schedule as they are usual in Germany are rare. I also sent a couple of speculative applications to companies, but the feedback was very sparse. In the end I managed to find an internship by contacting my professors from KTH, one of whom referred me to a professor who held a guest lecture in that course. He had a project in mind which was suitable for an internship and so it worked out in the end. In conclusion, it might be hard to find an internship in Sweden (apart from Master’s theses) outside the summer months. It might still be worth trying, but without personal connections it will probably be a bit harder than in Germany to find a fitting spot.

© Max Renner

© Max Renner


The formalities were very conveniently fulfilled. From the company’s side, I at some point got a working contract and once it was signed everything was practically done. It all worked out even without the personal number, which usually is needed in Sweden for pretty much everything. But it is only possible to obtain it if one stays at least a full year. But still, formalities and payment were no issue even without the number, at least in my case. The Erasmus+ paperwork was also very easily done. I got a list of what I should hand in, and after I took care of that I already got the Erasmus funding pretty quickly. Regarding the health insurance, I relied on the European Health Insurance Card which I had by being health-insured in Germany. For getting the covid vaccine in Sweden it worked out, otherwise I luckily did not have to use it. I still had my apartment in Stockholm from my previous Erasmus semester, so I did not have to look for a new one. However, it was not very good and extremely expensive (800€ per month – only possible thanks to the Erasmus funding). Apartments in Stockholm are very hard to find, especially as a non-student, so I kept my apartment even though it was so expensive. I found it on, but lots of other apartments are also rented out on Facebook. Students in Stockholm also have access to SSSB student housing, which is probably the best and cheapest option, but as an intern who is not also studying at a university in Stockholm that is not possible as far as I know. (The rents in Stockholm are capped by law. Two Swedish friends said my rent would surely be too high and that I could claim part of the money easily back. I will try that, but since the process is not yet finished, I can not say whether or how good this works.)

Job and everyday life

The internship was supervised by a guest professor from one of my courses, as already mentioned. I worked for Ionautics AB, and the internship was done in cooperation with the Linköping University. I conducted experimental work in the area of High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering, a technique for deposition of thin films. Since the main purpose of my internship was research, we are now, after the internship is done, working on a manuscript to publish the results as a scientific paper. The internship was in Linköping, however I

© Max Renner

© Max Renner

decided to keep living in Stockholm, since all my friends from the previous Erasmus semester were there as well and because Stockholm is a beautiful city. This on the other hand side made it necessary to commute a couple of times a week, which was extremely exhausting, since it took 2.5h per way. I did home office two or three times a week and could also work during the train rides, otherwise it would not have been possible to keep living in Stockholm. Still, the commuting was very annoying and took a lot of time, so I would not recommend it if there is no concrete reason to do it. The job routine was not too different from Germany, so I did not have something like a culture shock. My working time was the usual 40h per week. Due to the commuting, I had a lot of flexibility for the working hours and the home office, that was very nice. Important to notice about most companies in Sweden is that in the summer, especially July, practically no one is working. Many companies completely close for three weeks or so in July, and those who do not have most of their employees on vacation anyway. My internship ended in June, so I was not directly affected by that, but people who want to work over the whole summer should be prepared that it might be necessary to take a couple of weeks off in July.

© Max Renner

© Max Renner


My colleagues were all extremely nice and friendly, I really enjoyed my working environment. However, due to the long distance from home, the people I met after work were my study friends from KTH rather than my working colleagues. In that sense, my leisure time was a bit atypical for an intern, since I was still a part of the Stockholm international student bubble. Stockholm is an extremely beautiful city and there is a lot to do. I was on the road for practically one year non-stop and still had a couple of ideas about what to see and do. With sightseeing, bar hopping and outdoor activities there is easily enough to do for a whole year in Stockholm. I would also recommend doing some trips to the other parts of Sweden. The darkness in the winter can be an issue for some, the best remedy is to do a lot of activities and meet many friends, then it is not a big deal anymore (at least for me). And in the summer you get the reward with long nights, beautiful sunsets and the midsommar celebrations! I did not really have something like a typical everyday life, because the commute was very long and I was travelling a lot as well. That means I was also not part of a sport club or something. However, I was still part of the KTH Outdoor Club, for which you do not need to study at KTH. So for outdoor lovers in Stockholm I can recommend to check that out.


All in all, the internship was an incredibly enriching and interesting experience. For anyone who gets the opportunity to work in Sweden for some time, I would definitely recommend taking the chance. The only drawbacks are the high prices and that it might be hard to find an internship spot. But if you worked that out, you will be rewarded with nice people, interesting work experiences, a beautiful nature and long summer nights!



Living in Madrid

July 19th, 2022 | by
  • Data Science M.Sc.
  • Spain, Madrid
  • March 2022 – June 2022


My experiences:

Spending some time in Spain as always been on my mind, so I was really happy to finally realize it. I spent about four months in Spain and in the following I will share my experiences about living in Madrid, finding and organizing an internship and my overall personal experience.

I lived in Chueca, which (together with neighboring Malasaña) is a major destination for gastronomy and night life. On the one hand, it is great because it has a lot going on and represents diversity and LGBTIQ-friendliness. It has a central location both for walking to many parts of central Madrid as well as convenient public transport connections. On the other hand, it is expensive and did not really have a neighborhood-like feeling because it is very crowded and to my impression is really anonymous. It offers many fancy restaurants and shopping opportunities, which did not correspond too much to my preferred price segment and atmosphere though.

My favorite neighborhood is Lavapiés which is more multicultural and offers more affordable options for going out. However, accommodation there is also scarce and my recommendation for a flat would be to also consider other areas which are well connected with public transport and which have their own local atmosphere without an abundance of tourists.

As activities, I can recommend hiking and climbing in the nearby mountains. The villages of Cercedilla, El Escorial and Manzanares El Real can be reached with public transport and offer great hiking. For climbing, I was lucky to join a group of climbers of the alpine club of the Autonomous University and could profit from the good atmosphere and the carpooling within that group.

Apart from the outdoor activities and all the museums and interesting places inside Madrid, I also want to recommend doing day trips by train to the cities Toledo, Segovía and Ávila.

Finding and organizing the internship was not so easy because the planning horizons of the companies that I talked to were not clear. For example, I found a company which would have employed me, but in the end there was a shortage of projects in my desired time period. In general, the insecurity due to the pandemic situation made many companies reduce their internship activities. Moreover, I wanted to avoid a pure home office position, which ruled out some start-ups/IT-companies which do not even have office spaces anymore.

Apart from using job platforms, I eventually found my company by browsing through Madrid’s universities, their spin-offs and cooperating research and development institutes. In particular, these are more used to employ interns because in many study programs in Spain there are obligatory internships which seem to have additional funding.

However, in my case, I was the first person to come from abroad and that is why the amount of questions, uncertainties and organizational issues was relatively high. Neither to me nor to my contact person at the institution was clear at the beginning whether I would need to get a NIE (foreigner identification number) or a social security number. As my host institution could pay me a small salary, I eventually tried to obtain a NIE. This turned out very difficult because there were no appointments available at the foreign affairs office and police in Madrid. For several weeks, I checked the corresponding web page daily and could not get an appointment. Even though, I felt to have understood the system (that new appointments are entered into the system on Mondays around 12PM, still the demand by other and technical obstacles where high). In the end, I decided to travel more than 100km to the neighboring province of Ávila (as mentioned above it is a pleasant day out though) and managed to get an appointment and my document there. From then on, the procedures went relatively smoothly (apart from smaller struggles setting up a bank account).

The work itself started smoothly and I felt well-prepared from my studies and previous work experiences.  The team met on two days per week in the office, the remaining days I mostly worked from my room.

I worked on data analyses and machine learning model improvements that the team had always had in mind, but could not find the time themselves for. Therefore, my work was on the one hand useful and providing insights to the time, but on the other hand always a bit separated from what the colleagues were doing. Moreover, my actual supervisor was very busy and partly away, so I was somehow not sure who to ask certain things and who decides the next steps, but I recommend to just not hesitate and ask in the group chat etc.

A peculiarity for me was that some colleagues did not have breakfast at home and that the culture of long coffee breaks (including breakfast) is imported. My colleagues worked rather long hours, but still did not let them stress too much and I appreciated to have a good and social atmosphere.

My overall experience was positive, however, it was more difficult than expected to get socially involved. This is the disadvantage of a big city and that people in my case are having their routines and private lives. In my case, sports and university associations were the solutions to get to know people. In total, I leave Madrid with some positive memories and rich in experiences, however looking forward to environments with more close people and friends.

Gaining new experience in Denmark

July 14th, 2022 | by
  • Computer Science B.Sc.
  • Denmark, Sønderborg
  • Danfoss
  • February 2022 – June 2022


My experiences:

Hi! I’m Katharina, I study Computer Science at RWTH Aachen University and I’m at the end of my Bachelor’s degree with a focus on Data Science. In the summer semester 2022, I completed a four month internship at Danfoss in Denmark.

Finding an internship

At the beginning of 2021 I was very fortunate to be chosen as participant for the UNITECH International exchange program as a representative of RWTH. The UNITECH program is a unique opportunity, which combines an academic exchange semester at one of the 8 partnering universities (incl. for instance ETH Zürich, Trinity College Dublin, Politecnico Milano) and an internship with one of the corporate partners. Therefore I spent the winter semester 2021/2022 in Lyon, France as part of the exchange and then started looking for an internship through the network around October. UNITECH arranges career fairs for us to get connected with the corporate partners. In one of these events I came in contact with a team from Danfoss in Denmark. After interviewing with several corporate partners I decided to go with Danfoss, because I very much liked their philosophy and the project description suited my profile very well. Additionally I was swayed by the conditions, as the position was compensated fairly well and accommodation was found and paid for by Danfoss. At the beginning of 2022, I had signed my contract and was looking forward to another opportunity to live and work abroad.


Getting settled in Denmark might take some time, since there are several formalities to take care of upon your arrival and most steps include some waiting time before you can move on to the next. For any kind of official correspondance (bank accounts, getting paid by your employer, going to the doctor) you will need a NemID. This is something to take care of as soon as possible. Before you can receive the NemID, you will need to get a EU-Residence document from SIRI (apply before arrival!), a CPR number from the citizens’ centre as well as a health card (yellow card). If you reside in Denmark and are registered with a CPR number you are entitled to receive Danish health insurance. I would also recommend to contact a bank as soon as you have the health card so that they can start the process of opening a bank account for you. When these things are settled, you should be good to go. If you are planning to stay in Denmark for a long time I would recommend getting a Danish phone number in order to use the MobilePay app which is very commonly used as a payment method.


Danfoss is a Danish multinational company, with more than 40,043 employees globally. Danfoss was founded in 1933 by engineer Mads Clausen. Within Denmark, Danfoss is very known and is one of the biggest employers. In the south of Denmark, Danfoss has several office locations, the two biggest ones being their headquarter in Nordborg and the site in Gråsten (within Germany, the main location is in Hamburg). Nordborg is also where Mads Clausen founded the company, so many people living in the area are connected to Danfoss. The corporation is still family-owned and as an employee you can really feel their moral compass through the board’s decisions. Danfoss main market is the energy sector but their product portfolio is quite diverse, ranging from cooling & heating solutions to pumps as well as frequency converters (AC drives). From the beginning, energy efficiency has been part of Danfoss DNA, which is why their motives in terms of sustainability and decarbonization are very credible to me.

My Internship Project

I completed my internship in the Drives Intelligence department, a technology development department focused on embedded digital solutions for variable frequency drives. My project’s title was “Vibration Analysis using Machine Learning” and dealt with creating a Machine Learning solution for mechanical fault detection using signals from a variable speed drive and additional vibration sensors. My tasks included traditional steps in the Data Science pipeline (Data Collection from a laboratory setup, Preprocessing, Feature Engineering, Training a Machine Learning model) as well as working on the deployment of the model. Since the department is R&D, they are bringing many new ideas to life and prototype solutions quickly, which is fun to be part of.

Office Routine and everyday life
 © Katharina Alefs

© Katharina Alefs

Our office was located in Gråsten, while all interns were living in student accommodation in Sønderborg, which meant commuting to the office by bus (takes approx. 45 minutes door to door). This wasn’t a very exciting part of my day, but since I became friends with other interns that commuted with me, time was flying by. I usually had a daily meeting with my supervisor and a weekly discussion with other members from the team about how my project was going and to receive their input. I was very lucky when it came to my department, since they were all very supportive and accommodating. Some weeks of the internship I mainly spent in the lab to collect data from the fault simulation setup, but generally I was in the office and most people were present in person as well. In terms of the pandemic timing I got lucky because I didn’t have to work from home and I got to meet people face-to-face. This contributed to a good working environment.

I also recognized that working in the Danish job market is characterized by flatter hierarchies than in Germany, everyone is very approachable no matter their status and you usually call people by their first name, independent of their rank.

Daily Life/Leisure

The south of Denmark is a really beautiful place. Our student dormitory was located 5 minutes away from the beach and starting April/May we spent many days there, in the water or next to a bonfire. Sønderborg is a small town which is overall quiet but you will find everything you need. SDU university is located here which means that there are many (international) students. Regarding the nightlife there are unfortunately not many things happening. There is a student bar on campus that we visited from time to time. Since I made many friends through UNITECH that were also working for Danfoss, we still had a great time cooking together,

 © Katharina Alefs

© Katharina Alefs

playing sports or travelling to places like Aarhus, Kopenhagen or Berlin.


My internship experience has been really great. I was very happy with the team and how my project developed. It showed me the importance of people and communication on how you perceive going to work everyday. I gained more confidence in my abilities through working independently but also receiving support when needed. Fortunately, I was offered to continue my work for Danfoss as a remote student worker, which I will do so while writing my Bachelor thesis. Lastly, I made very good friends who had a significant impact on how I perceived the overall experience.