Meet Kitti-Lai, technical student at CERN. "It’s a lifetime opportunity, and you will know it once you are here!"

There’s no better way to learn than on-the-job. When that job happens to be in a world-famous organisation and centre of scientific excellence, even better. 

Every year, CERN hires over 200 Bachelor/Master level undergraduates in Applied Physics, Engineering or Computing to take part in the Technical Student Programme, in which Students benefit froma practical training period of between 4 to 12 months at CERN during the course of their studies. 

It’s more than work experience. In fact, it’s a student programme like nowhere else on Earth. And who better to talk about this opportunity than the people who are currently taking part?

Note: The Technical Student Programme is currently open for applications, closing date 12th April 2017.

In this blog post, we invite you to meet Kitti Lai, a technical student from Trondheim, Norway, who works in CERN's International Relations Department, Education, communications and Outeach group.

Kitti-Lai, tell us about you and your first encounter with CERN.

I had a background in business administration along with a wide field in customer support, sales and marketing in Norway. IT has always been a part of my passion along my previous positions.
I ended up pursuing my interests, studying Information Technology and I am currently a technical student at CERN working in web development and IT support for the S’Cool LAB at CERN, in Education, Communication and Outreach group of International Relations sector while completing a diploma in IT.
My current projects involve web development and quality improvement of S’Cool LABs websites and the e-learning platform which currently provides online courses for schools and students visiting CERN from all over the world. I am also involved in web development tasks for the following Teacher and Student Programmes at CERN:

  • Beamline for Schools
  • High School Student Internship Programme
  • Teacher Programmes

I first heard of CERN on the occasion of the LHC launch in 2008, but never knew they have been offering such a variety of internships for people all around the world in fields other than physics. I was surprised when I learned about them when someone from CERN came to my university and did a presentation about CERNs Internships.

What are your personal experiences, challenges and highlights at CERN?

It’s a great place to be able to meet and work with people from all over the world who are passionate and at the top in their field. The fact that your opinions and suggestions matter from day one, that you can get involved and have a fantastic team to work with is by far the greatest experience for me. We collaborate in different types of projects and also have our own individual tasks, we help each other out, and regularly have discussions which can be anything from technical to non-technical topics such as in planning and management. The work you do at CERN can be very challenging at times, yet it is interesting as there are always a variety of different tasks to be done so you will always learn something new!

Leaving everything behind and moving with my family to a new country was quite challenging and required lots of careful planning. The best part for us to settle down at the beginning in the CERN hostel: knowing that you already have a place to stay before arrival. Another highlight of CERN is they offer French integration courses for newcomers.

What messages would you give other students?

Learn from the best in the world and let yourself be challenged! In return you will gain great experience from your field of profession.
CERN is a multicultural and international organization like nowhere else, one of the most interesting parts about CERN is the unlimited possibilities. There are requirements and unique use-cases in fields you will find nowhere in the world. Take part and participate in projects which involve challenging cutting-edge technology and hands-on experiments. Do not hesitate and apply! You will regret if you don’t.
It’s a lifetime opportunity, and you will know it once you are here!