Hey! My name is Greg Coates and I am a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student at MUN in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I attended a BEST course in June of 2017 in Erlangen, Germany on medical technology and it was one of the best experiences of my life!
I chose this course because medical innovation is something that I was and still am very interested in, however I had essentially no experience or knowledge on the topic. I had also never been to Europe at all, so I was excited to go to any country, but I certainly heard a few good things about Germany, from their pristine engineering to their beautiful landscapes, and of course their world famous beer.
The Local BEST Group (LBG) Erlangen is a group of some of the most amazing and fun people I have ever met in my life, and boy do they pull off a great summer course. They are an interdisciplinary team of students with majors in many different areas of engineering, and even education. The entire 10 days I was with them and the other participants, we were laughing, learning, bonding, and having the time of our lives. I had the pleasure of visiting so many of these people in their own countries after the course as well.
I had an even better experience from my BEST experience as I gained a contact at one of the company visit workshops, which resulted in me landing an internship after the course with Siemens Healthineers in the same city of Erlangen! This allowed me to do so much more travelling through Europe, as well as learn miles more information and skills in the medical industry. During my four-month internship in Germany I travelled to 10 different countries and met countless more people who I am still in contact with today. Needless to say, this was the best four months of my life thus far, and it all started with applying to the summer course in Erlangen.
As a Canadian student who knew virtually nothing about how BEST operates or what I was signing up for other than some exposure to medical technology, I was ecstatic to see how much they value the participants’ overall experience and made sure that we were having fun at all times. Due to the nature of the summer courses, you may find yourself quite tired and the organizers always had fun and interactive “wake up games” to keep everyone going and indulged in whatever we were doing. I think the CFES could possibly improve in this way during their events and conferences, a short time away from sessions for something like this could really improve the quality of time spent working!
Overall my BEST experience was one I will never forget for so many reasons. Most importantly I met some of the most amazing people in my life during this short period, whom many of them I have kept in touch with and visited again after the course. I also made important professional contacts and was able to successfully attain an internship opportunity for my university program. Finally, it opened the door into the medical engineering world for me and sparked an interest that may last a lifetime!