Reuniwatt offers internships for students of meteorology, computer sciences and related courses. Andrea from Austria was part of our team on Reunion Island for six months in 2022 and shares her experiences in the following interview.
What are you studying and how did you decide to apply for an internship at Reuniwatt?
I am currently doing my Master’s in Meteorology at the University of Vienna. Like many students, I have been harbouring the dream of studying abroad for a while, but never really had the opportunity to spend a semester outside of Austria. With the pandemic, my studies became more or less of an online study and I decided to look for an internship. There were quite a few internship ads, but only one offer came from a small company on the French island of La Réunion. Working next to the beach by the sea, that seemed too perfect to be true, especially since the ad appealed to me a lot in terms of content. I sent a letter of motivation and my CV immediately, and I was indeed selected to spend 6 months at Reuniwatt.
What were your expectations?
Since my internship at Reuniwatt is more or less my first real work experience in the meteorology sector, I had little idea what to expect. However, it is really important to me that I don’t get bored during my work and that there is often a variety of problems and tasks to solve. That was definitely the case during my time in La Réunion. Also, I didn’t expect my French to improve so rapidly and I was very pleasantly surprised.
What were you working on during your internship?
The core question of my internship was rather open: The goal was to increase the accuracy of solar irradiance forecasts by improving the prediction of cloud cover. Together with my supervisor we analysed different possible methods and approaches and finally found a promising approach and experimented with it. In fact, some results will also find their way to the European Meteorological Society (EMS 2022) conference in Bonn. I am also very proud of that.
Can you imagine working in the field of energy meteorology?
I was able to gain many impressions in the renewable energy sector during my time at Reuniwatt. It is a complex field within meteorology with great future potential and definitely also a sector where I can see myself contributing in the future.
What was the biggest surprise for you during this time?
At first, I was actually a little afraid of meeting new people here on the island, with no opportunity to get to know anyone at the university. However, this fear was unfounded: At Reuniwatt, we spend a lot of time together with colleagues and you are never the only intern.
What will stay in your memories in particular?
Definitely the positive working environment within the company. I was never ‘just’ an intern, but ( in spite of a small language barrier) also a member of the team, during working hours and afterwards.
Will you come back?
I’ve had to promise a few times to visit the island again very soon, and I sure hope I can.
Reuniwatt is a major player of the solar radiation and cloud cover assessment and forecasting. Based on solid Research and Development works, the company offers reliable products and services intended for professionals of various fields, making the best out of two key facets of the meteorology: atmospheric physics and data sciences. A particular focus has been placed on solar energy forecasting, while developing cutting edge solutions to improve the short-term prediction of the solar resource.
The company has won many grants, including H2020’s SME Phase 1 programme, which makes Reuniwatt a European Champion with regard to innovation. Reuniwatt has also been selected among the national fast-growing companies to join the prestigious French Tech 120 programme in 2020 and 2021, and the French Space Tour 2021.
Hannah has studied Physics, Politology and Italian in Germany. As an avid science journalist and with a scientific background in solar forecasting, she is now supporting Reuniwatt as as content creator.