Gerard Lanzano, IEP ’19


Czech Practicum cohort at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

I applied to the Prague Practicum for two reasons. The first was that, even though I am IEP, I believe that nuclear power is a key ingredient in the fight against the Climate Crisis in addition to renewables. The second was that, because I had intended to do my IPSS in Vienna, and because the trip ended with a few nights in Vienna for the visit to the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it would have been convenient for me. Both points are worth expanding on. First, I learned a great deal from the two weeks my cohort was at the Czech Technical University. For anyone who does not have a science background, but wants to learn something about nuclear fission and fusion, wants to visit nuclear power plants, do cultural excursions, and who wants to make connections for their career, this practicum is very valuable. We learned about how nuclear reactions work, we visited a lot of facilities related to nuclear disaster response, power generation, and we even operated the reactor at the Czech Technical Institute. The cultural excursions were also quite fun, like the walking tour of Prague and the visit to Pilsner. My second point is a little more complicated. First, one of the reasons I had wanted to work in Vienna after this practicum was over was because I have family in Vienna, and I thought that I could live with them. But it turns out that they would not be able to host me. Second, I was not able to apply for an Austrian work visa until after I had received an offer, and once that was done, I would have to apply from the United States, not the Czech Republic. Therefore, my idea of doing IPSS in Vienna went downhill almost immediately after I had arrived in Prague. My main tip to students who may want to do this practicum in the future is have an internship secured before Christmas break. The process of working abroad is longer and more complicated than I had anticipated. This practicum was a learning experience for me in the sense of learning directly from the lecturers at the Czech Technical University, and also about securing a position.

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