Discovering Photolithography in the Netherlands
By Nicole Pitre • Schulich Leader at University of Waterloo
The past half-year has been a whirlwind of learning, cultural experiences and exciting challenges. In December 2014, I completed my 3A term in Mathematics at the University of Waterloo (UW). Then in January 2015, I moved to Eindhoven, Netherlands to begin a 7-month internship at the world’s largest provider of photolithography machines for the semiconductor industry: ASML.
Since the first day of the internship, I have been exposed to complex technology, talented colleagues from different backgrounds and nationalities, and an innovative company culture. My internship is focused on developing and implementing solutions for test automation. The attached photo, which was featured on ASML’s social media to celebrate the Dutch “Day of the Intern”, mentions some aspects that I like most about my work. My assignment relies heavily on the computer science skills that I have developed through past internships and coursework at UW. I have also been using my communication skills extensively in order to collaborate with colleagues from across the Development and Engineering department.
Five months into my internship, I continue to learn fascinating new concepts and develop valuable technical skills on a daily basis. I am also gaining an understanding of the factors that drive innovation in the semiconductor industry. Many of the colleagues in my particular group, which consists of approximately 40 people, have Master’s degrees or PhDs in Physics, Mathematics, or Engineering. They come from many different countries, and each person has taught me or inspired me in some way through our work together. Outside of the workplace, I am enjoying life in the Netherlands. I have been improving my Dutch language skills and adapting to the Dutch culture. I attend festivals, concerts, and other local events on the weekends. I have also been taking advantage of the relatively short distances between European countries by travelling to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Portugal on my days off. My work experience in the Netherlands has been brilliant from both a professional standpoint and a cultural standpoint. My internship at ASML will end in the last week of August, at which point I will return to Canada. September marks the beginning of my 3B term at UW; I look forward to interesting courses and learning opportunities in the new term. Dankuwel en tot ziens (translation: thank you and goodbye)!