Christina was the first ever student from Cyprus to join the International Scholarships Program at Total. After obtaining her Master’s degree at IFP School in France, she was offered a position with Total E&P Cyprus as a Drilling Engineer Trainee.
Christina, you spent two years in France during which you obtained your Master’s degree in Reservoir Geoscience and Engineering at IFP. Then in February 2016, you joined the Total Cyprus team. Can you tell us a little bit more about this position?
As part of my studies at IFP, I carried out a 4-month internship at Total in Pau. Based on my accomplishments, I received great recommendations and I was offered a one-year contract in the drilling team at Total Cyprus. My job is to provide support for the preparation of a deepwater exploration drilling campaign, including participation in the tendering process and the engineering. I just started in February and I am still in a training phase, discovering all the aspects of this project. It is a true challenge as well as a wonderful opportunity and 95% of the team is French, so it’s like I never left France!
That’s wonderful! Let’s rewind: why did you apply to the International Scholarships Program at Total?
In 2013, after I received my Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, the University of Cyprus offered me a scholarship to pursue a new Master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering. As part of this program, several workshops on drilling were organized in collaboration with Total.
I got to know the company better and then at the end of my studies, we were given the opportunity to apply for the International Scholarships Program at Total. I immediately applied! Being chosen meant I would be able to come and study in France at one of the top schools in the country with the possibility to work for a global oil & gas company like Total.
Anything else you would like to say?
I would like to add that this experience has truly changed my way of seeing things, professionally and personally. Being an employee at Total makes you stand out from other professionals. It gives you a global exposure that you would not get anywhere else, as you are immersed in a world where there are a lot of issues at stake. Also, I have learned to adapt to intercultural settings, whether it was at IFP where more than 20 nationalities were represented in my class, or in Pau during my internship. I would really like to encourage young students to come and study in France. Obviously, I would love for engineers from Cyprus to consider this kind of opportunity more often. The most important is to show that you are eager to learn and that you can adapt to any situation in any kind of environment. You have to learn how to blend in! Look at me, I was not specialized in drilling but here I am, on a deepwater exploration drilling campaign. Anything is possible!