My name is Michela and I’m Italian. My PhD started in January 2020, I have a 4 years PhD trajectory in the Intensive Care. My main topic is mechanical ventilation and I’m currently coordinating an international multicenter randomized clinical trial about automated mechanical ventilation, alongside with other projects.

How did you enroll into your PhD trajectory?

During my last year of specialization in anesthesiology I came in contact with an enthusiastic Italian PhD who was working here. In my hospital, and more general in the Italian system, we don’t have many possibilities to focus exclusively on research, so I decided to apply for a six month research internship. The experience was great and I applied for a PhD as soon as I finished my specialization.  

How is it going so far? 

From a working point of view, the experience has taught me a lot, and not exclusively about research. As many other ‘buitenlanders’ though, being far away from your family in COVID time brings you an extra dose of worries.

What do you like about your PhD trajectory? And what don't you like? 

Our PhD group is simply amazing. I’m the only foreigner, I struggle everyday with the Dutch language but I always feel supported by my colleagues. I enjoy working together on big projects, sharing ideas and tips, it is a very stimulating environment. At the beginning I had a hard time balancing personal and working life, but I’m learning that as well.

What difficulties did you experience coming from abroad, and did you receive help from the Amsterdam UMC / AMC

Starting working here was quite easy, everything is well organized. Most documents are translated to English, so even if you don’t speak Dutch you can navigate easily through your PhD. Finding a house is always a challenge!

Would you recommend doing a PhD? Why?

Definitely yes! Not only you learn a method, but you have also the possibility to develop many other skills: managing projects, working in a group, communicating with your colleagues..It’s a 360 degree life-experience!

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