Na primeira pessoa, Rita Matos  partilha connosco a sua experiência Fulbright. Ao abrigo de uma Bolsa Fulbright para Investigação com o apoio da FCT (21/22) e no âmbito do seu doutoramento em Medical Sciences da Universidade do Porto, Rita desenvolveu parte da sua pesquisa em Boston University, MA, EUA.



«My name is Rita Barbosa de Matos. I am a PhD student at i3S-Institute for Research & Innovation in Health from the BiotechHealth Doctoral Programme- University of Porto. I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship with the support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) to go to Boston and work at the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM) from Boston University.

My experience in the US surpassed all my expectations, coming with challenges too. One of the biggest challenges was to feel alone while missing out on events back home. With time, I started to build new meaningful friendships and learned new ways to enjoy my own company (for example, I started doing pottery!). You will still feel lonely sometimes, but mostly you will feel proud and empowered by all your accomplishments!

From the internship perspective: For the first time, I could experience an open-lab concept that would organize group activities every week! My supervisor Gustavo Mostoslavsky and its research group also made me feel at home. During my nine months in the US, besides completing the work plan, I created a strong bond with the No Stomach for Cancer, a patient association for families with Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer. Their support allowed me to travel across the US, present my work at different conferences and establish new collaborations important to my research.

Regarding Boston: My landlord and friend made me love every corner of Boston and Brookline. We could ride our bikes all day and never get enough of its views. With the friends that I made, I went on several adventures, sharing a little bit of my culture and absorbing a little bit of theirs (Miss you all).

The Portuguese community there is also a great advantage, always ready to organize dinners and networking events, especially with the support from the Portuguese American Post-Graduate Society (PAPS) in Boston. The many talented young Portuguese researchers paving the way in Biotechnology and other research fields inspired me.

Finally, I believe the success from this experience is also a result of the support that I received: from my supervisor and mentor, Carla Oliveira, who is a strong influence in my scientific career, always leading by example; from my family and friends that always support my decisions and encouraged me; and from the Fulbright Commission that was always available to facilitate the bureaucratic issues or any other question allowing us to focus on what matters for our projects.

The Boston experience changed me because it allowed me to grow, and  I want to thank the Fulbright Commission for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.»


Thank you, Rita for being part of this friendly community. Welcome back!