Being an employee at the HTC and why you should apply
If you choose to apply for Philips, you can accept that it’s going to be a rather different experience than that of your fellow course mates on placement in the U.K. That not to say it’s a benefit or a disadvantage, just different!
For one it’s likely that several of you who applied will be invited to work at the HTC. I even worked on a project with another course mate, so not every aspect of the placement will be new and you’ll have people to relate to and share the experience with. Personally, I found this an advantage as our year is really close and everyone who went to Eindhoven got along really well, none of us lived alone and we often went to events together. This was also useful for keeping on top of university work and the admin involved with living abroad, having others around you with the same deadlines.
Other things you may find different are that you may just be in a small office with several other interns. I shared one with an Italian biomaterial graduate and two Dutch students from the Tech uni whilst three of the others were next door with a Canadian and Dutch student. It’s a highly international company and I’ve made some great friends from it, I’m even visiting a friend now living in Zurich and another in Rome, both people from Philips, so my options to travel have expanded!
I also found that, although in separate offices, all of us were quite well connected with the supervisors and experts within the Department. At the beginning of the placement we were required to do a small introduction slide about ourselves to the Department and then a full presentation of our work at the end. A department BBQ was held in the courtyard of our work building one evening, and another time several of us went for drinks in town. My supervisor, Steve, was also in a band who covered rock songs and he invited us to several of his gigs which we attended.
The labs we used lined the external perimeter of the building so weren’t incredibly large and most of our projects required access to several of them, which would be different to working in a foundry. Additionally, you may find the work at Philips based more on initial innovative research than other company placements that focus on improving and developed existing systems. But this could mean that you’ll be working towards a new patent – in fact the companies on the campus together make up 40% of all dutch patent applications.
Of course a major difference it that you’ll be living abroad! The Netherlands is such a great place to do this as a flight from Eindhoven to Stansted can cost as little as £13 so visits home aren’t a major inconvenience. You have the option of 5 days off (a day for each month) and I utilised these to explore several cities in the Netherlands and surrounding Europe. So you may find your weekends are busier than your friends, but also there’s cheaper wine and great beer to be drank in the evenings and all the cycling you do too! I really enjoyed having a new cultural experience alongside the work.