My first months as a TAPAS ESR

by Sebastião Quintas last modified 2021-03-18T18:16:08+02:00

By the end of September 2019, I received an email confirming my position as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) on behalf of the TAPAS project in Toulouse, and it was equally exciting and terrifying! Exciting since it was an amazing opportunity, not only for the research side, but also for being able to live abroad for an extended period of time. Terrifying because I had one month to present my Master thesis and prepare everything for my departure!


As you can imagine, the month of October 2019 was packed with a lot of administrative and logistic activities. Despite this, everything was properly addressed except the flight ticket, which I forgot to buy beforehand and therefore forced me to explore different alternatives. A 24-hour bus ticket connecting Lisbon to Toulouse was my weapon of choice, which was quite boring at some points (to say the least!). The first few weeks in Toulouse were packed with administrative stuff, which seemed overwhelming to me at first, since I could only understand a little bit of French and everything was new. Thankfully my colleagues and advisors provided me with all the help necessary, and ever since then, I felt very included and supported by everyone in the team.


The first few weeks as a TAPAS member were mainly focused on brainstorming on the topic in order to kick-start the upcoming three years. Luckily all of that happened before the first quarantine. Concerning the following months, they were mostly spent reading a lot of papers and getting acquainted with some speech related tools and frameworks. I found this process very important in order to build a good technical foundation that would help me later on execute some of my own ideas. Of course none of this would be possible without feeling included and supported by my supervisors and colleagues, which are always ready to help and provide constructive feedback to better pursue the research-related ideas that I find the most appealing. Fortunately all of these aspects still lasts to this day, almost one and a half years after arriving to Toulouse.