Hallo Freunden! Wie geht’s?
I just looked at the calendar, and apprently I have been living in Dresden, Germany for the past 5 weeks. In April, I accepted an internship offer to work at GLOBALFOUNDRIES (formerly AMD), as a PFA (physical failure analysis) engineering intern. Given that the last two summers I worked internships at Qualcomm, I thought it would be fun to see the other side of things (GLOBALFOUNDRIES is a fab that makes wafers for Qualcomm and many of its other customers that go into their products), and I also thought it might be fun to spend three months in Europe:)
So far, I am incredibly satisfied with my experience. The first week was definitely demanding, as I had to take care of all the housekeeping details associated with my stay here. Namely, I had to register as an official resident of the city of Dresden at a central office, obtain a tax ID number from a tax office, set up a bank account, and move into my apartment. The Monday I was supposed to start work was actually a German holiday, and therefore the “housemaster” at my dorm was not available to give me the keys until Tuesday (and move ins can only happen on weekdays). So I actually spent my first three days in Germany in Radebeul, a nearby town, at the Radisson Hotel. Luckily, my now-friend Danielle, who also works for the company, reached out to me earlier in the process and offered her help in getting me set up. It was amazing having her! Not only was it awesome of her to drive me to all these offices and speak in German to get things done more quickly, but she also picked me up from the aiport, helped me move in, and welcomed me into her home to meet her family. Her son Aaron is adorable, and I have so much fun playing with him. Danielle’s house is really close to the hotel, so it was nice to hang out with her and her family that first weekend. She is a fantastic friend, and we are actually going to Prague together in July! More on that in my next blog.
As far the actual work I’m doing goes, I have been put in charge of a 5 million dollar CMP machine designed by the Fraunhofer Institute specifically for GLOBALFOUNDRIES. It was just brought out of storage, and I am doing experiments with it, and testing its functionality for three specific physical failure analysis purposes: front side polishing of wafers, backside polishing of wafers, and opening packages. In the large PFA process flow, these would be initial steps to be completed before the wafer samples can be analyzed under light or SEM microscopes, more advanced lasers etc. to examine for defects, such as leakage currents or other issues. My mentors and managers have been really helpful in answering my questions about the larger business behind what we do, and helping me see steps in the PFA process that I am not directly involved in through my work. They have also been teaching me how to do analysis on various metal and oxide layers using the SEM and Obersch laser systems. So on the working front, I am definitely having a good time and feeling intellectually stimulated. I’ve known for quite some time that within EE, semiconductors are my calling. If/when I succeed as a professional electrical engineer or patent attorney, I just want my business cards to say “Semiconductor Queen.” I know, I am getting a little bit ahead of myself. What else is new?
Other than work, I have been having a lot of fun with friends, screenwriting in preparation for the upcoming semester (I am in 4 screenwriting classes, and need to get prepared!), watching a lot of TV (required viewing for one of my screenwriting classes. excited to start arrested development soon!), and gearing up for LSAT round 2. I took the test last October, but I took it a little too slowly:) So I renewed my online course, and plan to attack the test with even more success this time around. It’s been a little hard to make time for my class with everything else going on, but now that sensory overload has toned down a bit, I can finally focus on studying again. It migh be a little bit important:)
Aside from Danielle, my best friends here are definitely two of my roommates, Jens and Johannes. The apartment we share is so adorable, and they are two of the cleanest boys I have ever lived with (in an apartment of six that shares a kitchen, we are on one side of the kitchen, with another three rooms on the other side)! They both do their dishes, and ocassionally bleach our tub! Johannes has an affinity for soft toilet paper, and always buys the best kind! TMI? The point is I love them both. They have both been so nice about adopting me into their respective friends circles (both are students at TU Dresden) and letting me go out with them on weekends to various clubs and social gatherings. This past weekend was the Bunte Republik Neustadt festival, which you can read about on wiki. I had a blast! Additionally, my homegirl Sara from USC has been studying abroad in Dresden all semester! It has been so much fun having her here as well, and we like to go on adventures together, have dinner, or get a workout in. When Makana gets to Germany, we are also doing a trip to Berlin together! You have to love the Trojan family:) Game running strong, even in Europe.