Travelling to a new country is always an exciting experience, but working in new country, under a new professor, can be daunting.
Once all the necessities had been acquired - visa, accommodation, flights ect. and the final pint had been drunk with my research group, I hopped on a plane, crossing the pond to the USA.
After a connecting flight to the Midwest (which is really still in the east of the States), I landed in Columbus, Ohio.
Getting off a plane in a country where you speak the same language, you might say it is a little less exciting, but that is not to say there aren't language barriers (and people asking you if you have met the Queen). From the minute I stepped off the plane to the moment I got back on to return home, I had an amazing time.
I spent my first day travelling around the university, and you can call it travelling when they have a university bus service solely for navigating the campus. It was nothing like any university I have been to in my life. I was taken on a tour of their 100,000 seat stadium that was home to the American football team.
I had a wander around the power station that they use to burn the waste the university produces, and found the library that looks like an only slightly smaller version of the White House. Finishing my tour with the Chemistry Department where I was to work for the next three months. Though this was a department that had four, six story buildings in its arsenal.
At the end of my tour I met with my new Professor, Malcolm Chisholm. While touring his lab, we discussed what I was going to work on for the following months. The facilities at their disposal were fantastic, from having eight glove boxes to the personal NMR machine in the basement. We decided that I would be working on the polymerisation of lactide with an aluminium catalyst, which is closely related to my current PhD research under Professor Michael Hill.
The following day was my first day in the lab. I met Malcolm’s research group and with their help, I dived straight into work. I can honestly say from my first day in the lab to my last, I had no idea where the time went. It was incredible.
My group showed me the ropes of Columbus, which is an amazing city. They taught me the do's and don’ts and most importantly, how to cross the road without getting arrested. I have to thank them first because my experience of Ohio State University could have been very different without them.
The research that I worked on with PhD students Mathiu and Bala is now in the process of being submitted. Research collaborations between the Chisholm and Hill groups are continuing.
Finally, I have to thank Malcolm and Mike; without them and the Bath International Research Funding Scheme, my trip would not have possible. If this opportunity ever presents itself to you, I highly recommend taking it. It is not just for personal or professional development, but also for the collaborations which help foster the combined knowledge and drive the research forward.