my name is Raul and I come from Murcia in Spain, where I studied electricity and automation, and then telecommunications and computers.
How did you find out about the CERN TTE programme?
A friend of my brother's had worked at CERN and mentioned various possibilities 4 years ago. That was when I heard about CERN for the first time. I wanted to do an internship which is obligatory in my course, I contacted CERN and this wasn't possible but I was offered the alternative of applying for the TTE. I applied… 10 days after graduating I came to CERN!
Did you have any hesitations?
None at all. I thought it would be good to improve my knowledge in languages and I was sure that I would learn a lot so it wasn't difficult to decide to apply. I wanted to leave Spain to have another experience abroad. Since then, in the past 2 years I have travelled more than my whole life!
So what do you do here at CERN?
I first started working on databases but soon got involved in different projects. I took the initiative to ask if I could work in other areas. I try to improve our radiofrequency cavity tests, I'm in charge of installing new measurement devices, programmable logic controllers and doing the programming for applications, so the operator can use it to have an efficient and secure test stand and to have the control and readout of what is happening in any moment.
I am really, really happy here and I wanted to stay, so I recently applied for a staff position as an operator of the Proton Synchrotron (PS) and I got the job.
What were the challenges when you arrived?
Firstly was the language, when I arrived at the border control at Geneva airport, I couldn't understand what they were telling me. Now I can communicate fluently. I took advantage of the French courses on offer as well as other training I have been offered such as presentation skills, programming, security and others - there is a big emphasis on training which has helped me a lot. I never thought that at CERN I could learn as much I am learning now, in so many areas.
What are the highlights of working here?
Being in this multicultural environment, learning to get to know so many people. It's like coming to work but not working! It's learning and collaborating with people. I always want to go to work, it's so interesting, never boring.
Any particular messages to other aspiring technicians out there?
Young people are often afraid to leave their home country, they shouldn't! You can always try and go back if it doesn't work out. They should apply and get out of the country to experience something new. It certainly is not a waste of time, you always learn. Do it!
I feel like at CERN you are the only one who can put limits on yourself, the possibilities are endless though. If you want to learn it's the best place to come.
How cool is that?
If you're interested in the programme and want to apply, find out more on the programme page.