Hunimed Students’ Experiences Abroad: Cecilia’s story

Cecilia Bonfiglio is one of Hunimed medical students that had the opportunity to spend 2016 summer abroad for an internship.
In this article, she describes her experience at the University of Luxembourg.

Have the courage to know (from Abbi il coraggio di conoscere”, by Rita Levi Montalcini)

Written by Cecilia Bonfiglio, Hunimed student

It was summer and I found myself in an unusual, ecletic location: iron foundries, a railway station, modern buildings perfectly in harmony with the ancient ones, trees and fields all around. Weather: too variable. It was summer and I found myself in Belval Campus. For those wondering where it is: University of Luxembourg. It could sound as a place in the middle of nowhere. However, I eventually found everything to grow up personally and scientifically.

summer internships abroad
20 July 2016, Lultzhausen (Luxembourg) – Team Retreat

Alarm clock in the early morning to get ready and walk to LCSB, Luxembourg center for System Biomedicine, where Professor Rejko Krueger‘s team was waiting for me to start: I entered the laboratories the first day simply as an Intern coming from Italy, unknown by everyone. I ended the last day as a friend, as a student with a new, wonderful relationship with all the members of the team in the Lab, everyone standing at the door to say goodbye, wondering when I would come back.

The aim of my internship was collaboration on Parkinson’s Research Project on a protein called DJ-1 which is found to be mutated, and therefore dysfunctional, in patients with early onset Parkinson’s Disease. Krueger’s team – also known as Clinical and Experimental Neuroscience Group – is composed by different PhD students, PostDoc, Technicians and Interns who collaborate on the study of various genes involved in the onset of the pathology.

My experience was challenging in terms of scientific approach and social team building. From the very first day I discovered how much all the people were able to teach me: I never felt bored or annoyed; every single detail, every meeting, every birthday lunch was full of emotions that can hardly be described with few words.

This has been the taste of my summer, a taste I had never tried before. After meeting such a fantastic group and reality, I am completely sure that the choice of applying to the internship was the best one I could make.

I would like to thank Humanitas University who funded the Internship, my Professor Stefano Duga who helped me get in touch with the brilliant Professor Krueger, and last but not least my tutors Zoé and Nicole, who always treated me as a permanent member of the group. Eventually, I am grateful to all the people who helped me understand how the team spirit, both in research and in life, takes us always in the right direction.

Watch the video interviews here.
More individual stories coming soon: stay tuned!


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.