Secondment of Teresa Bonifácio from Universidade Catolica Portoguesa (PT) to A&R House (UK) (7th June – 6th August 2018)

My two-months of secondment were spent in Bleadon, a little village in the English countryside near Bristol. I wasn’t very sure of what to expect because it was my first time in the United Kingdom and the first time away from home for so long, but my anxiety ended as soon as I met Alistair and his family (including the cats, the tortoise and the peacock), they really made me feel like I had never left home.

The work at H&R House (BCL) was very interesting and I learned a lot about what they do there and how helpful I could be while doing the secondment. From the first day they made me feel like I was part of the company staff, showed and explained me everything (the drier, the cleaner, the laboratories). We went to a local brewery in Cheddar to get some brewer’s spent grain to start the work related to the project and I got the opportunity to see how a local English brewery operates.

During the secondment I visited the Thatcher’s cider factory and went to the University of Reading to meet the Chemistry and Food Department, having the chance of discovering the lovely city of Reading by walk.

I took part to two conferences, one in Leicester (“Valorising unavoidable waste from convenience foods and ready meal manufacture”) where I presented a poster and the other in York (“Beyond the Lab – developing your industrial career”), getting to know the beauty of this city again by walk. Moreover, Alistair gave me the opportunity to participate in a course (“Introduction to life cycle assessment (LCA) methods”) at University of Reading.

During my time in the United Kingdom I also went to visit Weston-Super-Mare, Bristol and Bath, walked through the footpaths that go through the hills of Bleadon to the Weston-Super-Mare beach and made friends at the local pub.

In my opinion this secondment was a unique experience and I do believe that these two months have been very enriching both at personal and professional level. Thank you to the FODIAC project to give me this experience.