Should you go abroad for your placement?? These students say YES!

Hej Guys,

Hope you are all well and enjoying the summer! I’m back in rainy Manchester for my summer….so thought it’s probably a good time to start dreaming about places I could potentially go for an exchange study. Are there any life science companies based on Caribbean islands? 🙂

Bioentrepreneurship students get to do three placements during our programme. You can read the ins and out of each one here.  We have two big opportunities to go abroad, for the second Practical Placement (PP2) or the Master’s thesis.

You should read  Leire’s blog for all the reasons why going abroad for placements is a great idea!

For this post, I teamed up with fellow blogger Huanling, a fellow Bioentrepreneurship student. She usually posts on Chinese site Weibo, but we teamed up to interview some classmates about their experience completing the PP2 or thesis in a brand new country.


Country of origin: Spain

Country of PP2: United Kingdom

Company: Pope Woodhead, a life science consultancy company.


 “I didn’t have any difficulties moving to the UK, as it was no different from moving to Sweden from Spain!  My advice is hurry up and apply! You have to sort more things than you think, especially accommodation”.

Pope Woodhead (PW) has a good relationship with MBE, and takes interns from KI for PP2 each year.  Rita first came to know about PW when they came to KI to present opportunities to her class. She had always wanted to work in a consultancy company so it seemed like a good fit! She decided to apply and was accepted after being interviewed via Skype.

Rita role was as a business analyst, completing research to support consultancy projects. She was working within the development team which included risk management, pharmacovigilance and risk assessment. These tasks ran across various projects with various clients.  Rita liked the environment at PW especially the young and dynamic team meaning it wasn’t difficult to make friends!


Country of origin: Finlandmarie

Country of PP2 and thesis: Australia

Company: SpeeDx, a young innovative research-focused diagnostic company working with multiplex qPCR based diagnostic tests.



“Contacts are key! As well as persistence and patience, if you really want to go don’t give up! SpeeDx is keen to supervise more KI students so students who want to come to Sydney are free to contact me for more information and advice.”

Marie fell in love with Australia when she came to Sydney for her Bachelor’s thesis. The country is perfect for peoplel like her, who enjoy sunshine and outdoor activities. In fact, she spent the whole summer in Australia trying to find a company for her PP2 and thesis. It turned out to be more difficult than expected! Luckily she was able to utilize her contacts from the University of Sydney and was introduced to SpeeDx.  Her project was a market assessment for syphilis during PP2, and her master thesis was about reimbursement and antimicrobial resistance. She also worked part-time for the company doing IP searches and marketing during the thesis period.

Reflecting on her abroad experience, she thinks that the biggest challenge lies on finding the right company, since big pharma/biotech/consultancies prefer students from local universities.  She would absolutely recommend going abroad and in fact she has been able to secure a job with SpeeDx after graduation.


Country of origin: United Kingdom

Country of Thesis: Germany

Company: Chameleon Pharma Consulting, SME pharma consulting company.



“I would definitely recommend taking the opportunity to go abroad. I might sound bonkers but I would even recommend working whilst writing your thesis!  The experience looks great on your CV and it makes you grow up, plus if anyone ever asks me what the hardest things I’ve ever done it, I can say this!”

Charlotte worked full time whilst writing her Master’s thesis in Berlin.  She remembers looking around during the initial lecture and realising she was the only one in her class working full time. She quickly realised the reason for this! Her experience in Berlin was quite intense, working in the office until 5 followed by working on her thesis at evenings and weekends.

Berlin is an amazing city but she feels she didn’t get the chance to much of it! German culture is not too far from Sweden but the work style is different and language barrier was sometimes a challenge. Charlotte speaks Swedish so she sometimes overcome this challenge speaking Swedish with a German accent 🙂

Her work involved consulting for SME pharma companies who want to enter emerging markets. Most of her projects focused on the CSI region and she wrote her thesis on the Russian Market. The work was challenging but she thinks there are some big benefits to working whilst writing your thesis- the biggest being you get paid!


Country of origin:  Germanyjdith

Country of PP2: Rwanda

Company: Polyclinique La Medicale, clinical Laboratory attached to a hospital.




” Sometimes when you’re in the situation, you might question why you are there but think about how much it will give you after! The experience of living in a different culture with different people is invaluable to learn how to communicate and deal with problems.

Judith was approached by another classmate who had a placement in her home country of Rwanda. The project involved looking at processes and systems in order to implement a quality management system into a hospital laboratory.

Judith welcomed the opportunity to go to Rwanda because she loves to travel and experience other cultures. Although she faced a few challenges coming into a completely different culture and working environment. The biggest was probably time management, her Swedish/German heritage means she expects everyone to be on time!

Overall her experience was extremely positive. Judith recommends if you get the opportunity to go abroad, you should do it! However, you need to be flexible. Her placement was still not confirmed even a few days before she arrived in Rwanda. You have to accept that other people work on different time schedules.

Thank you to all our interviewees 🙂

As always feel free to get in touch if you have any questions x


Facebook: Rosa Willock

Linkdin: Rosa Willock

2 thoughts on “Should you go abroad for your placement?? These students say YES!

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