Elena Barba Sarasua

Portrait photo Elena Barba Sarasua
You can contact any lab or company around the world and arrange your own internship.
Elena Barba Sarasua
Biomedical Sciences
Country of previous education
Study start date
Previous education
Biochemistry, University of Navarra

Student Elena Barba Sarasua is following the Master's programme Biomedical Sciences. 

What do you like about the programme/specialisation and why? How has the programme/specialisation challenged you (in relation to your previous education)?

What I like most from the Master's in Biomedical Sciences, is that I can design my own programme. I can choose the courses that interest me the most and how I want to organize my internships. This gives you a lot of freedom to decide when to take days off and when to work full time, depending on your personal situation. It is also very nice that we all have one mentor for each specialisation. The mentors are always in contact with you, they even reach out to you before starting the Master's. You can ask them questions regarding your education and they are always available and willing to help you. Another thing I really like from our programme is that you can decide where to do your internships. You can contact any lab or company around the world and arrange your own internship, which gives you a lot of freedom to decide which skills you want to improve and to design your professional career.

What do you think about the atmosphere in class (for example the relationship between students and with the teachers/researchers)?

In the Master's, we usually are about 20 to 25 students per class. The courses last 4 weeks. As you can choose your own courses, every month you meet new people. This gives you the opportunity to broaden your network, which is very helpful specially being an international student. From my experience I can say that usually Dutch students talk in English during lectures, but it is true that sometimes is a bit difficult to make connections with Dutch students because they are speaking in Dutch during the breaks. Teachers are usually very close to students and available to help out.

What do you find most challenging in your Master’s (specialisation)? Have you encountered any obstacles?

The most challenging thing I encountered in the Master's was adapting to four weeks courses. I was used to having lectures for three months and then one month of final exams. But in the Master's we have 3 weeks of lectures and the final exam in the forth week. That was quite shocking in the beginning as I had the feeling that I did not have time to deepen into the topic. But then you get used to it and I even started to like it because you focus completely in two courses for one month and then you move on to different topics.

Are you currently doing an internship? Or what is your thesis about?

I just finished my first research internship at Radboudumc at the Experimental Rheumatology department. I was working on sex differences in osteoarthritis pain and developing a neuron firing model. For my second internship I decided to go abroad (again) and move to Australia. In January I will start my next internship at Children's Medical Research Institute in Sydney. It will be about viral vector bioengineering for cell type specific gene therapy.

Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree? What are your plans once have received your Master's degree?

I think it's very important to meet people from your Master's programme to broaden your network in the field. This connects you with opportunities all around the world. Once I finish my Master's, my plan is to continue in academia and do a PhD. It is also in my future plans to do an MBA and create my own science company.