For the internship required for my masters Science and Technology of Nuclear Fusion and Sustainable Energy Technology (both at TU/e) I went to ITER. Supervised by Guido Huijsmans and Sven Korving I worked on writing a controller module for the nonlinear MHD code JOREK. It was great to write an own part of such an immensely complex and interesting code that is able to simulate so many interesting things. We discussed the project with several researchers at ITER who gave great input. I found it exciting to work together with people and at such a place that is literally at the forefront of the fusion research and development. Very inspiring to be there and see the ITER site every day! We went on site- tour twice, and it was very impressive to see how hard so many people work to make ITER a reality one day.
After writing the controller module, we tested it on some test cases. The results were very preliminary, but multiple control engineers were inspired by the potential that they saw in using JOREK for control testing and for gaining more knowledge on the plasma response! We have had talks with ITER control designers and people from DIFFER about the project. Very nice to see that with the project that I did we showed the potential of JOREK to more people.
There are many interns at ITER most of the time, which form a group of friends to spend time with. We spend every day together working at ITER. This group definitely made the time there unforgettable! In the weekends, we went on trips together to explore the beautiful nature in the south of France and other cities. I especially enjoyed the hikes on the Saint Victoire nearby Aix-en-Provence and at the Calanques, which are at the coast close to Marseille. Definitely recommend to go there!
I lived in the north of Aix-en-Provence. In case you want to go to ITER when you read this, try and contact people who have been there about housing, we are definitely willing to help and give advice! Living in France was great, although I struggled a bit sometimes with French people who tend to dislike people who do not speak perfectly French. I always tried to speak French with them, but it is quite hard to learn a language in a short amount of time for me, so I was not very successful. If you would go to France, I would recommend starting to learn as much French as you can as soon as possible. Furthermore, I would recommend enjoying the time that you have to the fullest, as time goes by too fast and I definitely miss being there now that I am home! But I will go back some day :)