Why a semester abroad?
I'm studying biology at the University of Ulm. I am currently at the end of the third year in the Bachelor and I will start my Bachelor thesis in April this year.
My decision to do a semester abroad in the 5th semester was in the Christmas holidays 2018. I informed about the partner universities of my university and it quickly became clear to me that I would rather spend the semester abroad at a university in Northern Europe. Tallinn was the perfect choice for me.
Since I'm studying biology, it was obvious to me that I was taking courses at the School of Natural Sciences and Health. The courses were not mandatory, but I had to take courses at Tallinn University in order to get at least the 20 ECTS credits, that are required. The courses I took were very good and I learned new things, such as in the master course regulation of gene expression.
Student Nico Sachse and Jana Molz at Tallinn UniversitY laboratory.
My first day in the laboratory was very exciting because a lot was new to me. At the beginning my supervisor Md Musa Howlader (Analytical Biochemistry PhD student) showed me the different laboratory rooms and introduced us to the other laboratory employees. I didn't know beforehand that there were laboratories at Tallinn University. I would like to add that the molecular science laboratory is very modern and that I could always do my work undisturbed.
Fermentation optimization of different carrageenan degrading marine bacteria
I’m honest, I don’t know exactly with what kind of work we really started. I think it was the production of the basic medium to cultivate the marine bacteria. I remember the last day well. We did the enzyme activity test for the optimal nitrogen source for our marine bacteria. It was actually nothing special because we had already carried out the enzyme activity test many times before.I didn't know there were laboratories at Tallinn University. I would like to add that the molecular science laboratory is very modern and that I could always do my work undisturbed.
In our work presented "Fermentation optimization of different carrageenan degrading marine bacteria" the goal was to find optimal enzyme production conditions for various marine bacteria from the Baltic Sea. I mean with optimal conditions, the best conditions in which the bacteria produce certain enzymes, so-called carrageenases, which catalyze or split the substrate carrageenan. With our methods we found the optimal carrageenan substrate, the optimal temperature for enzyme production, the optimal incubation period of the bacteria, and the optimal media component.
My supervisor Musa was a very good supervisor. He is a very nice and friendly person who showed me a lot of things, such as the correct handling of the laboratory equipment (spectrophotometer and thermoshaker). We have a very personal relationship with each other. I think that it is not possible to do the laboratory work without a supervisor because there are many problems that need to be solved in the beginning. For example, it was very difficult for me at the beginning to plan many optimization attempts in advance over a period of several days. You also needed to book the laboratory equipment that Musa took over.
Above all, I became more confident and learned to take on responsibility, because my work was part of Musa's Phd thesis.
On my free time I saw a lot of Estonia. I have been to Tartu twice and have seen Haapsalu and Rummu. Especially the three-day trip with my friends to the island of Saaremaa was very, very nice. There we explored all the places in Saaremaa with a van and stayed in a cabin in the woods.
Visiting Saaremaa. NICO SACHSE on the right.
So I would definitely recommend Tallinn University. You meet many international students here and the university is very well organized and enables a personal relationship between the teacher and the student. You learn better and more than at my university in Germany.
Take a chance and use Erasmus + mobility
The Erasmus + mobility is very nice. Sure, you are a bit scared at the beginning because you never know what to expect. But I got to know so many new perspectives because you meet a lot of interesting people from other nations. I have also gained independence and, above all, self-confidence. It is also very advantageous for studying because you improve your English skills.