Joshua Balacky

Joshua BalackyDegree: MChem Chemistry with Study in Industry

For his placement year, Joshua went to Germany to work for a major science and technology company. He picked up lots of useful work experience, and got to explore some of Europe.

"For my placement I worked for Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany. My role was in the analytical department where I identified impurities in drugs as well as identifying the organic LED compounds found phone screens (such as the iPhone X and Samsung S8).

"During my placement, of course I worked in the lab, but also travelled a bit around Germany and Europe: going to Innsbruck in Austria to climb the Alps, visiting cities such as Berlin, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Bamberg, Mainz and Dortmund (for a football game), as well as various cities in Europe such as Amsterdam, The Hague, Prague and Cadiz.

"I also attended a couple Darmstadt SV football games as well as playing myself for the Merck football team. Other activities with Merck included attending a beginners golf course, joining in the company run and training with an ex proffessional Darmstadt football player.

"I learnt some German over the course of my 12 month placement, which is great. It also helped me be more organised and a lot more independent. It was difficult at first, moving to a foreign country, grappling with the language and holding down a brand new nine-to-five job (or rather, 7.30am-4.30pm!)

"The freedom was the thing i enjoyed most about the placement. Being in a foreign country and earning serious (-ish) money for the first time was great, and something I miss now.

"I'm hoping it will greatly increase my chances at getting a good job. I feel nowadays with so many people getting a degree, experience is very important to employers and spending it in another country helps you stand out."