Meet the Interns: Anja Ilenič
Dear Anja, what were your expectations from the internship and were they met during your stay in ZAG as an intern?
Initially, I was not sure what to expect, however I was extremely surprised by the vast number of opportunities to learn new skills, expand my professional network and gain an insight into the organisational structure and activities of the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG).
How demanding was the experience for you in terms of real-life professional challenges and balancing your faculty obligations with the internship implementation?
I completed the ADRIA internship during my final year of the postgraduate studies. Due to the fact that I only had to write and defend my master’s thesis, it was quite easy to harmonize both – the faculty obligations and the internship at ZAG.
What affected your decision to apply for the ADRIA internship in the first place?
I found the ADRIA internship as an opportunity to improve my practical skills and increase competences for the future employment before finishing my studies. Moreover, I saw it as an excellent chance to get to know the work of the researcher as well as to get an insight into how European projects work.
Could you highlight the aspects of the internship in ZAG that you found most useful for your professional and personal development?
Thanks to the great mentorship and guidance, I learnt the importance of implementing the principles of circular economy and promoting recycling as an essential part of modern society. Furthermore, I got the opportunity to gain an understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities in the construction sector as well as to get a better perspective about the feasible recycling approaches and possible secondary raw materials (SRM) exploitation options. I was also privileged to gain insight into the background of different European projects – SPL CYCLE, RIS-RECOVER (project proposal writing, reporting, management activities, etc.).
What would you recommend to future interns, how to maximize the benefits of participating in an internship?
I think it is very important to incorporate practical trainings and internships during your studies, in order to increase the competences for the future employment. I would encourage everyone who has an opportunity to participate in ADRIA internship as I believe it can serve as an excellent starting point for the future career, regardless if you want to work in industry or in academia.
Judging by the fact that you currently work in the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG), where your internship took place, it seems you both find a perfect match. However, where do you see your career heading in the next few years?
As you mentioned, I am currently employed as a research assistant at Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG) and my major aspiration for the further career development would be to continuously challenge myself, foster critical thinking and to have the opportunity to follow my interest in the field of environmental science.
We are looking forward to cooperating with Anja in the future joint projects within EIT RM RC ADRIA and beyond!