Life (sciences) in Melbourne: “So many opportunities”

Russian student Arina Kochetkova (22) is following an internship at the Baker Institute in Melbourne. She’s enjoying everything Australia has to offer and is happy to share tips and experiences with her fellow HAN-students. “It can be difficult to reach institutes here, so start early!”

Life Sciencesstudent Arina Kochetkova loopt stage in Melbourne.

We catch Arina on a beautiful day in Melbourne. Her face is shining a bit because of the humidity. “The weather is amazing these days”, she confirms with a smile. “December on the other hand was horrible! It went from rain to sun and back to rain like five times a day.”

Internship at Baker Institute

Not that Arina’s currently all too concerned about the weather. These are busy times for the Life Sciences student, as she’s finishing her internship at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. “We’re researching pathways that lead from diabetes to immunological disorders. I checked whether applying vitamin C could reverse this pathway, but it turned out it didn’t work out. Which is a good result though, because now we know.”

Although she finds her subject interesting and she’s working hard towards a good result, Arina isn’t sure whether she wants to pursue a career in research. “I’d like to proceed in the sphere of life sciences, but in a different way. I’m thinking about doing a master’s in nutrition and dietetics.”

We’re researching pathways that lead from diabetes to immunological disorders

Luckily in Melbourne there are plenty of other things Arina can focus on, besides her research. “There are so many opportunities here to try new things. I’m dancing a lot, trying different styles. And I make sure I have enough time to visit the gym and go out with friends regularly.”

Arina also visited many of Australia’s famous places, which she recommends to everyone visiting the country. “There’s the ‘Penguin Parade’ on Philip island - not far from Melbourne -  where you can watch thousands of small penguins coming out of the seas to their homes ashore. The ‘Great Ocean Road’ is beautiful as well. I did a trip to the East-coast, where I visited places like Fraser Island and Whitehaven Beach. And past Christmas I went to Sydney for a few days. I wish I could’ve stayed there longer, it was amazing.”

Tips for fellow students

So what if you’re also interested in doing an internship in beautiful Australia? Arina has some tips, but also a warning: it’s not always easy. At least for her it wasn’t. “The process was a bit unclear to me, and it was hard getting replies from institutes I approached. So if you want to go to Australia as much as I did, make sure you start looking for opportunities early. And find the right people who can help you!”
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Foto Arina Kochetkova