Gathering practical experience while studying

Sonia Garcia studied Industrial Design at the University of Bilbao. She completed her internship year at ionair. During the interview, the Spanish national elaborated on her experience during eight months in central Switzerland.


Family name: Garcia
First name:   Sonia
Course: Industrial Engineering
Duration of internship: 8 months
Place of study: Faculty of Engineering - Bilbao
Hobbies:  Traveling

What led you to ionair?
I heard about ionair for the first time at the student organization IAESTE, where I was working on the Committee of the local branch. As a Committee member, I was aware of opportunities that were available in Chile, Germany, Czech Republic, and, in fact, Thailand. However, it was a colleague who drew my attention to ionair.

What ultimately made you decide in favor of ionair?
There were several factors at work. On the one hand, I wanted to utilize my internship year in a meaningful way, to really tackle something challenging, and I felt a smaller company would be the better option for me if I was to realize this goal. On the other hand, I wanted to work in an environment where I could combine my engineering knowledge approach in the design and planning of processes. And ultimately, Switzerland had always fascinated me.

Did everything work out as you expected?
Very much so. ionair represented a genuine stroke of good luck for me. My work was in demand right from the beginning. And apart from the internship, I was able to start my Master's project at ionair, which I am delighted to say has now been completed.

What was the subject of your Master's thesis?
It involved the optimization of the ionization tubes, which the company installs in the ventilation systems. In my Master's thesis, I evaluated how these could be produced and maintained more easily in the future. In addition, the emission of ozone was meant to be further reduced to a minimum.

What kind of ionization tubes did you work on with regard to contributing towards an advanced development?
The indoor air quality is improved specifically and effectively with the ionization. The comfort, the coziness, and the hygiene of the indoor air is improved demonstrably and annoying odors become neutralized and pathogenic germs in the air get reduced. The method used is called ionization. In the process, room ventilation systems are fitted with ionization tubes in the supply air, exhaust air, or even recirculation air.

And does it work?
It is working in this way in the Development department. Sometimes it works at the first attempt and sometimes it doesn’t go so well. Often, I used to brood over it for hours if something did not go as I had imagined or expected. In order to make progress quickly and promptly, we have always critically analyzed the test results time and again in the team. However, we have evaluated a valuable technology, which meets the specifications and with the help of which new and innovative ionization tubes can be produced.

It sounds very challenging…
It was. In theory, everything is always clear. However, in practice, the knowledge and findings can be arranged in order only after a certain amount of time. And these practical experiences are enormously valuable. And they will benefit my professional career in the future. In this regard, I have to thank the development team who have always supported me.

What else did you gain from this internship?
The work was highly diversified - no two days were ever the same. I was right in the middle of everything that happened. It was great for me to be able to constantly test my own theoretical model for practicability in the Ionair laboratory. This meant that I could immediately determine whether something was working or not and it was a completely new experience for me.

What did you miss the most from your home country?
It’s always strange being away from home. For me, life here in Switzerland is very different to life in Spain. In particular, I missed the social life. In Spain, it is unthinkable to immediately return home to your own four walls after work! However, I had to get accustomed to this concept.

One of your hobbies is traveling. What appealed to you in particular in the tourist destination of Switzerland?
Switzerland is a wonderful country. Beautiful mountains, historical cities, and many lakes. Actually, Switzerland offers everything that is treasured by the enthusiastic traveler. And when in Switzerland, one is only a few hours away from the border to Italy, Germany, France, or Austria. That is fantastic.

Do you have a favorite place?
It was not so much a place that I came to love, but I discovered the wonders of hiking here in Switzerland. The panoramic views and the landscape of the Bern Oberland will always be among my best memories.