Koen Verrijt

3rd of April 2017 until 18th of July 2017 (excluding holiday)

When I was thinking about locations to do my internship, I wanted a country outside of Europe that has English as its native language. Eventually I chose to go to the United States. Due to the many connections Patrick has I found a university in the East Coast, near Boston. UMass Amherst it was!

The first thing I did when I arrived in the college town of Amherst was buying a bicycle. I went to explore the village and surroundings and immediately felt at home. The next Monday I started my internship. For more than three months I worked in the Lesser group, a very social and ambitious team of many international students. The amount of equipment available in the labs was immense and the work environment was very stimulating.

The project I worked on was about the processing of polyamide 6 foams using a superheated water setup. These foams can be used as, for example, ultrafiltration membranes. Different processing conditions were used to investigate the influence on the properties of the samples. The foams were characterized in terms of morphology, porosity, and thermal properties using techniques such as SEM, DSC and TMA. Interesting microcellular foams and powders were created. 

Next to the internship itself I undertook a lot of activities with students of UMass, like visiting Boston, going out in Amherst, visiting a concert, and barbequing in the summer. Furthermore, Amherst and its surroundings are perfect for doing hikes with other students. Making friends was easy; I even got invited twice to a birthday party of which I did not know the person itself. 

At the end of the internship my brother visited me to see how I spent my time there.  After showing Amherst we went to Boston and New York. We both really wanted to see the West Coast, so we flew to San Francisco. After visiting many national parks, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles it was time to go home. In the end it was a great experience and I can recommend everyone to do their internship abroad!