I came to Luleå through the Erasmus+ student exchange program, as part of my studies in chemical engineering at NTUA. I had the chance to work in the Biochemical Process Engineering group of LTU, to do my master’s thesis on the evaluation of phytochemicals from a halophyte extract for their antiviral potential, through molecular docking simulation and enzymatic assay. Moreover, I also had the chance to work on the enzymatic functionalization of hydroxycinnamic acids.
Immediately when coming to LTU, I met an incredibly warm, fun and supportive group of people, who made me feel welcome and created a very enjoyable environment to work in. Both topics I worked on were very interesting and taught me a lot of things, such as how to work with enzymes, the use of analytical equipment, the operation of docking simulation software as well as academic writing. My experience in LTU made me realize that I want to work in research and further specialize in the field of biotechnology. Moreover, it was really nice to be in an international environment and get to know people from all over the world.
Luleå is a weirdly beautiful place, surrounded by amazing nature. Despite being cold and dark in winter, the snowy forest, the frozen lakes and sea, and the northern lights, when they are visible, are magical. It is also amazing how everything changes in the summer, when everything blooms and the sun almost never goes down. It also offers a lot of outdoor activities all year long, such as ice-skating or skiing in the winter, hiking, swimming, kayaking or berry-picking in the summer. Overall, my time in Luleå was full of new experiences and helped me learn to adapt to them and grow. It is a very special place where I would gladly return to.