Floor van Elsacker did her internship at Tauw, Deventer, the Netherlands in 2018.
From May to August 2018, I was an intern at Tauw. It is a Dutch firm which also has international branches. The company is active in many different fields, including the (living) environment, safety, energy and water. I worked at the department that mainly focuses on soil, which includes research, analysis and possibly remediation of the soil.
Tauw looked for an appropriate project for me, based on my background and their own needs. My project was about lead pollution in urban areas in the Netherlands. The goal of my project was to create a strategy to support municipalities with the lead problem. I also had the opportunity to do some small tasks within different current projects which was a nice experience and to really get to know the department.
I liked the fact that the project was multidisciplinary. I think it was a nice opportunity to test out the tools and theories that I learned during my studies in real life. I had quite some freedom within my project. This could be challenging at times, because it also meant that I partially had to define my own project. However, I also learned a lot from it and I got the support I needed from my colleagues. Furthermore I got the opportunity to also interview different relevant parties. This was a nice opportunity to get to know (possible) clients and to start building a network. It was nice that this was possible within the current project. It also made the project more real for me, since it was no longer a strategy that was just on paper. It was a possible solution to a real-life problem.
My experience at the company was very positive. The working environment at the department was nice and my colleagues were always willing to help me out if I had a question. I think it is really important to invest in a good relationship with your co-workers, because it makes working together easier and makes the job in general nicer to do. My project was taken seriously by the company which was a really positive experience for me. I got a lot of feedback during the process from different colleagues. It could be challenging at times to incorporate all the feedback in the project, but I think it was a valuable experience. Furthermore I got feedback on my skills as well. This really helped to see my strong and weak points.
I would recommend an internship at Tauw for ESA students. There is a diversity of possible subjects and from my experience a lot is possible if you have a plan and are willing to work. There is a positive atmosphere at the company and I learned a lot from my internship there. Furthermore there are also social activities on a regular basis which gives you the chance to meet new people and learn more about what other people are working on.