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August 2012

Taking home fond memories of Canada

As a chemistry student from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Fernanda Gomes de Mendonça didn’t know what to expect when she was accepted for a Mitacs Globalink internship this summer at the Université de Montréal.

However, now that she’s here, she cannot stop singing praises for the beautiful city and culture of Québec as well as the top-quality research climate which she has now been a part of.

“I wasn’t originally thinking about doing an internship abroad during my undergraduate degree, but when my Professor in Brazil told me about Mitacs Globalink, I had to apply!”

Now, under the guidance of Dr. Gary Hanan, Fernanda has been helping to develop “photocatalysts”- metallic compounds which are able to produce hydrogen from water in order to be used for fuel cells in cars and transportation. Though she had not done similar lab-based research at home in Brazil, she is enjoying the experience of taking her knowledge out of the classroom and into the lab. “I am learning a lot of new things every day, it’s so good that I can see how much I am learning and where it could take me in my future!”

Fernanda and others from her Globalink cohort attended the inaugural Mitacs Globalink Symposium in Ottawa where they met with government officials and members of the Canadian business community. The event also allowed the students to practice their newly-minted networking skills after having completed a workshop on effective networking through Mitacs Step.

Beyond practicing her English and French (though she insists it’s not that difficult), Fernanda has enjoyed experiencing new cultures and exploring central Canada, though she does intend to return one day because of the academic experience. “Doing graduate studies in Canada would be an amazing experience and I think I would have all of my Brazilian professors’ support to come back. I also really want more Brazilians to come here and have this same experience as I have had.”