From 9 – 22 July, International Summer School on Quality Assurance took place in Krtiny, Czechia. Before starting their second year in the EACH programme, our students Tetiana and Merili participated in the summer school and will look back on their experience in this blog post.

From left: Tetiana, Philip Taylor (organizer of the summer school), and Merili

Merili: The summer school was definitely very intense and challenging. We were put in completely new situations, trying to actually work as an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory and use our knowledge about the topics in real life. Working in a team with different backgrounds and different levels of a shared language was quite difficult at times, but ended up being the biggest and most valuable lesson I took with me. The summer school was also a great opportunity to connect with people from all over the world: we had all our meals together and spent many evenings learning about the different cultures and histories of our colleagues. During the weekend, we went on a 15 kilometer canoeing hike and to a trip to a cave nearby, which allowed us to see sights of Czechia that one usually may not think to see in the first place.

Tetiana: Summer school is a great opportunity to get acquainted with a Bible of the testing and calibration laboratories also known as an ISO/IEC 17025 standard.

The University of Tartu provides a solid ground in metrology in chemistry (in the course taught by Professor Ivo Leito), and summer school is a good addition to it. After a week of lectures from high-level specialists in this field, we established small analytical laboratories of 3-4 people and got our first order to validate the method! We had to communicate with the customer, plan validation ourselves, perform it, write a report, participate in the proficiency testing, analyse the test sample, provide a result with a conformity statement and present the work in front of the audience. We were limited in time and resources, all the team members had very different backgrounds. Thus, the situation we were in mimicked real life excellently! It was a great chance to be enrolled in the whole cycle of work in the testing laboratory, understand the most crucial things at every stage of work, check the quality of the performance of our laboratory, make mistakes and learn from them, and of course, participate in the auditing!

Furthermore, at school, we met fantastic people from all over the world, practiced canoeing (15 km! by the way) and improved our English skills! We had very nice evenings with karaoke and dancing; probably my biggest discovery this summer was a Belgijka, big thanks to our Polish team for introducing this dance!

So, my recommendation: do not hesitate and apply for the next summer school! You won’t regret this decision! 😉

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