Our testimonials: Maryna

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Our testimonials: Maryna


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Meet Maryna from Ukraine

Student of Physics 


"Once you get to know how to combine studies and extra-classroom activities – you will have one of the best experiences in your life!"


Meet Maryna

About myself 

Being open to new challenges makes my life more interesting. That's why in 2021, after obtaining Bachelor's degree at Karazin University in Kharkiv, Ukraine, I decided to try studying for Master's abroad.
To get more familiar with international working environment, I firstly went to Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) for a summer internship in Functional Nanomaterials group. During the internship, I was working with the synthesis and characterisation of semiconductors (specifically – thermoelectrical ones) and fell in love with this field of research.
Right after finishing the internship, in October 2021 I started my Master's journey at the University of Padua. The first year of my studies was not so easy: transition during covid-times, new education system, then the war in Ukraine affecting my hometown... Thanks to the support of my course mates, professors, and even nuns (I'm living in the private college) I managed not to lose my focus, pass the exams, and even get the opportunity to be a summer student at ESRF/ILL Summer Student Programme in Grenoble, France. There I attended lectures on X-ray and neutron science and worked on the project on growth and characterization of cobalt oxide epitaxial thin films as a member of beamline 25 "SpLine" research group at ESRF (where I even got my beamtime!).
Later, after finishing the third semester of the programme and following relevant courses, I joined Enrico Napolitani's group for writing my Master thesis on the topic "Pulsed Laser Melting of Semiconductors for Photovoltaics". Being a student in this group, I became somehow a full member of the university research environment, learned how to operate not the most user-friendly machines and get the meaningful results, and successfully applied my knowledge and skills obtained during past studies and internships!
Before the fifth (and the last) semester at the programme, I was chosen to do another internship at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany. I attended a series of lectures on particle and nuclear physics and their applications and conducted research on nanotechnologies with etched ion tracks as an intern in Materials Research group of GSI.
I was able to see such big research institutions not only during internships: university professors organized similar visits as well! I got a chance to visit Elettra Synchrotron in Trieste and explored INFN research facilities in Legnaro.
After finishing my Master's I would like to continue carrying out research that can be innovative and useful for human beings as a PhD student, travel to many other countries for new and cultural experience and implement new ideas!

    What did you like the most about your programme? Why would you suggest it to other students?    

What did I absolutely like was the great variety of courses! Being a physics student with an interest in materials science, I could combine courses from both Master programmes, so that advanced my knowledge of chosen topics. Compulsory courses cover both theoretical and experimental branches of physics, so that students can develop their “weaker” skill to become a good scientist in the future.

    What extra-classroom activities did you do (if you did any)?    

As an adventurous person, I could not miss the opportunity to explore Italian nature and culture both with my Italian course mates and international friends as a part of ESN Padua. I went hiking many times in the Alps and Colli Euganei and at some moment even became a guide among my friends , tried local Venetian wine with my lab mates, participated in various sport activities, and, of course, started learning Italian!

    Do you have any tips for students wishing to apply?    

Since it is a Master programme, do not expect it to be easy. You will spend evenings and sometimes nights on some subjects, but they will boost your knowledge so much that in the end you will remember only the positive outcome. Don’t worry about different education system – your colleagues, who did their Bachelors in Italy, would be happy to help you!

    What are some things people might not know about studying in Italy?    

Despite thinking that Italian lifestyle is relaxing and easy-going, to study in Italian university you need to be a hard-working student interested in your field of science. But once you get to know how to combine studies and extra-classroom activities – you will have one of the best experiences in your life!

    What are your best go-to places in Padua?    

For socializing and meeting new people Giardini dell’Arena, Prato della Valle, and students’ area of Portello are my favourite locations. As for must-see places, I would recommend Capella degli Scrovegni (but be careful: Unipd students believe you won’t graduate if you visit it before finishing your studies!). Many activities are also organised in Parco Iris, so don’t miss the chance to attend them!

    Do you have any funny story or episode you wish to share…?    

Once I was so confident in my Italian language skills, that during the family dinner I was speaking with the waiter exclusively in Italian. After ordering a glass of home-made wine and a steak, the waiter came to us to make some things clear. I was pretty sure he asked about the wine, so I asked him for a semi-dry red one. The waiter seemed pretty confused, so I added: “Well, the semi-sweet would be also ok”. After 10 seconds of silence, the waiter said: “Unfortunately, we don’t know how to do a semi-dry steak. But I can propose you a medium one”. That evening “well done” went to the steak, but not to my Italian skills.

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