ISOIS ▸ Final reports

Host country:
Host institution:
Mobility type:
Program:
Faculty:
Ac. year:
Semesters:
Study level:
Language filled in:

University of Ruhuna - Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences & Technology

Sri Lanka 2021/2022 Freemovers

Personal data
Mobility type:
traineeship

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Science

Field of study:
Ecology

Level of study during period of placement:
Doctoral

Language used:
English

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
autumn 2021

Period of placement (from-to):
2021-11-08 - 2021-11-24

Number of months:
1.00

Activities before my departure abroad
What was your approach in organising the placement?:
The placement was planned before strike of Covid-19, therefore there was plenty of time for negotiations. When travel ban was lifted from Sri Lanka, I messaged prof. Terney Pradeep Kumara, who invited me to the host university, and the paperwork was fast.

What documents are required for acceptance on a placement at this organisation?:
My placement was based on previous communication with prof. Terney Pradeep Kumara, who invited me to the University of Ruhuna. Therefore I only needed his invitation letter for the acceptance by the dean of the faculty.

How far ahead did acceptance have to be organised? (in weeks):
For this short placement only 2 weeks.

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
For this stay I only needed short-term ETA visa:
- passport
- fill online application at the Ministry of Immigration of Sri Lanka

Fee for the visa:
30 USD

During the placement
Did you change the training agreement in the course of your placement (training agreement)?:
No.

What is necessary to arrange immediately on arrival? What requirements and at which offices?:
Nothing.

Describe your work/activity in the foreign organisation. Describe what specifically you did, whether the work corresponded to the agreed conditions and your field of study, and whether your work was independent and responsible, approximate working hours.:
My 2021 stay in University of Ruhuna aimed to be a preliminary one, to set a stage for my longer stay in 2022. It is my great pleasure to state, that all the expectations were fulfilled. I was able to do many field trips to see local coral reefs, collect preliminary data about the fish richness there, and choose those, I would like to sample during my future stay. I got in touch with researchers, academics, and students at the faculty and was able to find new friends in local communities – valuable source of first-hand information about the ecosystems. I was also invited to participate on research papers of Department of Oceanography, an opportunity I value greatly. All of this allowed me to plan my future research and optimize my career choices.

Did the organisation or local student organisations arrange any special events for foreign students on placements?:
yes

If yes then what?:
I gave a speech about life in Czech Rpeublic and my research.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
I stayed in a hotel Bed and Breakfast in Mirissa, 30 minutes of drive to the university. As the tourist season was not on and the Covid has lowered the demand, the prices for long stays were friendly.

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
131 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
One room for 1 to 2 people, freesh sheets every week, private bathroom, shared outdoor kitchen and fridge, towels.

Who arranged your accommodation and how far ahead:
I ofund the accomodation via my previous contacts in Sri Lanka, by a recommendation of a friend.

Equipment, internet connection, what to bring:
The hotel has a wi-fi, though it's quality was bad. I mostly used my mobile data, so I hearthly recommend to buy a Dialog or Mobitel SIM in the airport. They provide foreigner-friendly bundles with 20 and 60 GB of data monthly.
The sockets are not the european type, though you can usually use european plugs, if you know how (ask someone local). A reduction is however hearthly recommended.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
As Sri Lankan government reduced possibility of import, all imported goods in supermarkets is now approximately 2 times more expensive than in Czech Republic. You can, however, use local markets, where you can argue for a good price. However, I highly recommend to visit those with a local, otherwise the sellers will give you too high price.
I also hearthly recommend to order food online via PickMe app or Delmart Matara app, or buying lunch in local shops and restaurants as a take-away. For a foreigner the prices are set and usually cheaper than if you cook for yourself.

Transport to location of placement:
I used a PickMe app (something like Uber) to find a transport from the airport. As a transport from a place of residency to the university I used either PickMe and threewheelers or rented bike.

Approximate price:
Airport drop - around 40 USD for each trip.
Approximate price of one journey with PickMe from Mirissa to Ruhuna - 2 USD per trip.
Rental of a bike - 3.5 USD per day.

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
PickMe - local variation of Uber. It can also be used for take away groceries and food.
Delmart Matara - app for food delivery.
Tickets for train should be reserved few days prior at the train station, if you want to have 2nd class and better. 3rd class, the cheapest one, is usually very crowded.
Tickets for bus are sold by vendors in the bus. It takes some skill to catch a bus, but once you get used to it, it is very comfortable way of transportation.
If you are not affraid of driving in Asian traffic, I hearthly recommend to rent a bike or scooter.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Public transport is very wild, somehow unreliable, but still best and cheapest option for long-term travels. You can use train or bus.
PickMe and three wheelers are a good low-budget option for short journeys around the town.
I do not recommend cycling nor walking for journeys longer than 2 km as the traffic is crazy and pavements non-existing.

How did you use health insurance? What type?:
AXA travel insurance.

Did you have other insurance? Which?:
No.

Experience with insured events:
No experience with insured events.

Tips for recreation:
Area around Matara is well-known for surfing beaches, reef snorcheling and whale watching. You can also just visit the beach and enjoy swimming. There is plenty of nice sites around, including Coconut Hill and Parrot Island. For a one day trip you can visit Galle Fort nearby or some of national parks. For a weekend, you can visit beautiful mountain town of Ella or Nuwara Eliya, or the Adams Peak, sacred mountain with famous hike trail.

Financial support and expenses
Monthly grant from the Centre for International Cooperation:
0 CZK

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
Scholarship supported by our department.

 
 
What was your average monthly expenditure during the placement (i.e. without the travel there and back)?:
39000 LKR

a/ of which for accommodation:
30000 LKR

b/ of which for catering:
4000 LKR

c/ travel and recreation:
5000 LKR

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:

 
Experience with bank accounts/services. Do you recommend an account arranged abroad, use of Czech payment cards...:
Most of the ATMs support international credit cards, however, I recommenbd to pick major ammount at once as the payment for the services is around 40 CZK. Also, most of shops do not support card payments.

 
Did you pay to foreign organisations any fees? (insurance, materials, etc.):
No.

Did you receive a salary from the host business/organisation?:
no

If yes, what was your monthly salary?:
0 ???

 
Other advantages from the host organisation?:
Own office, own assistant, drinking water, refreshments.

Is it necessary to assume a larger amount at the start of the placement? If yes, what and for what purpose?:
I recommend to have a larger ammount of Rupees at the start to use during the stay rather than picking up smaller ammounts from the ATM. It is however not necessary.

Recognition of the foreign placement at the home faculty
Is the traineeship part of your field of study?:
yes

If yes - is it a compulsory or optional part?:
Optional.

How will your traineeship abroad be recognised at the home faculty?:
As an XD110 subject.

How many ECTS credits did you/will you get?:
5

Were there serious problems arranging recognition of the placement?:
No.

Overall assessment
Assessment of personal benefit (1 = excellent):
1

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
1

Do you agree with the statement that, thanks to the experience gained during the placement you will be able to further develop your skills for work in your field?:
Absolutely!

What did you most appreciate after completing your placement?:
Creating connections to the university for future cooperation.
Field trips to local reefs to pick those I would like to use for future data collection.
Creation of bonds between locals, who can give me more information about the marine systems.

Any serious problems during the placement?:
No.

Do you have any recommendation for those that follow you? (e.g. what to take with them):
I think I mentioned everything important above.
What I would add: vaccinations for rabies, typhoid and cholera; international driving license; set of completely white clothes to visit temples with locals (if you wish so, it is an amazing experience); open mind and will to gain new experience.