It would not have been possible if I had not studied at such a good university. It would not be possible without academic staff ready to help me. Lastly, it would not be possible without a bit of luck, and perhaps a tiny bit of courage as well.
It all started in the winter, six months ago. Professor Peter Littlewood came to our university to give a lecture on polaritons and to sign an official agreement between the Cavendish Laboratory and my faculty. I had read about his arrival a few days before. I did not have any plans for a summer internship, the professor seemed to be the right person to talk to, Cambridge sounded attractive, so I thought I would give it a try. In the evening I knew something about all the groups in Cavendish, but the choice was quite obvious: Semiconductor Physics
I had a plan. I went to the chancellor’s room where they signed the agreement which was quite funny because no other student showed up and the room had a VIP-only look with paintings of former chancellors all around. Then I attended the lecture - I had read his paper on the topic before, but I cannot say I understood it. When you add two things you are not good at (polaritons and Bose-Einstein condensate) you end up really confused. Anyway, the lecture was interesting even for students because the professor presented it properly (with a simple experiment!). I even managed to ask a question at the end.
When the lecture finished, I went straight to the professor and told him I had seen him signing the agreement and I asked if he thought it would be possible for my university to send a student (me) to Cavendish lab for a summer placement. He was very nice and advised me to write an e-mail to him with my CV attached. I think it was exactly what I hoped for so I came back home happy as a clam and started to write a letter…