InternFeel: Hello Tanmay, pleasure to see you here. Would like to know more about you.
Tanmay: Hi everyone! I am Tanmay Agrawal, an undergrad presently majoring in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Hamirpur. My interest lies in the field of Fluid Mechanics and CFD primarily. I love working on software related to my field as well as I love to code for similar problems. I aspire for higher studies in this field and envision myself as a faculty at a reputed Indian university. Regarding non-academic activities, I love to watch movies, listen to pop music, writing, gaming!
IF: Which internship you got the chance to take? What is it all about? Stipend and duration?
Tanmay: I got this chance to do my internship at National Tsing Hua University at Taiwan. In the field of Mechanical Engg., NTHU is ranked 49th in the world which represents its strong academic performance. I got selected in their official program which was called as “Global Leader Scholarship Program”. There were two sessions for this internship: 15th may – 15th July and 20th June – 20th August. I applied for the former one. Under this program, I was provided with accommodation and subsidized airfare by NTHU.
[su_box title=”Details”]For more details on this internship and to apply, visit the internship page on EduInfo click here [/su_box]
IF: How you came to know about the internship? Generally what was your way of being in touch with the media to get the information about the various internships?
Tanmay: Internshala is one of my sources to get to know about internships apart from Google. It was last November when while surfing on Internshala, I got to know about this internship. Internet research apart from seniors and friends is the best way to search for internships.
IF: How much competitive is the selection process? What things you feel are looked for in the applicant by the selectors?
Tanmay: In my selection mail, it was mentioned that the international office selected 40 participants out of 750 applicants. People from reputed university such as MIT, yes! Massachusetts Institute of Technology participated in the program as well. In the application form, it was given a choice to applicant whether he/she already has a supervisor or the international office should him/her allot one. That is when I thought it would aid to my application of I could identify a potential supervisor. This invitation from the supervisor was indeed very helpful in my selection apart from general things such as SOP, GPA etc.
IF: What qualities of yours – educational / otherwise, you feel helped you in having an edge over the selection process?
Tanmay: At that time, I was having a CGPA of 8.72 at an absolute scale of 10 which I believe was competitive up to certain point. Besides that, an invitation from my potential supervisor and projects that I have done at my institute make me stand above others certainly. It is also well known that a good statement of purpose can improve the quality of your application.
IF: Approximately when you got the news for the selection? How was the celebration?
Tanmay: It was beginning of February when I got the news of my selection. As I was in class when I got the mail, it was almost immediate when I was lifted in air by my friends and I was getting kicked almost everywhere. Later on, it was accompanied by a party obviously.
IF: What all preparations you did (academic/otherwise) before joining and after the results?
Tanmay: First of all, I start to contact other Indian students who were selected for the same session (15th May – 15th July). Since none of my seniors has done their internship at Taiwan, therefore internet and Facebook were a good option to collect information. I gathered information about application of visa from embassy, vegetarian food availability and living expenses in Taiwan and also about the internship project information from my supervisor. I got to know few people who have done their intern from Taiwan previously. This helped me on confirming my decision to finally go for this internship.
IF: Any problems that you faced before joining, which you feel could have been easily avoided if known in before?
Tanmay: Since there was enough time after result for me till my joining. So I had my time of doing research on internet. Before my arrival from India, I was almost aware about things such as how to reach university (in case if someone is unable to pick you up from airport), what things you should carry with you (as there is limit on baggage weights), what are the eating choices available for you etc. Actually the problems are specific to the destination. For example: at NTHU, we were not allowed to cook the food, we can only use hot water to boil the food. So as an alternative, we used the induction hot plate to make curries and pancakes for us.
IF: Any common mistakes which you feel students should avoid while searching and applying for internships?
Tanmay: As far as I can say, one should not be attracted directly to the “Tag of International Internship”. It is more important to do internship at a reputed university. Therefore one should do a good background research on the university and in some case, potential supervisor as well. It is extremely important to check the contentof mail before clicking on the send button. In your mails, try not to attach any documents since it will never be read by the person you are writing to. Exception will be the case when your cover letter is convincing enough for the reader to download and open your attachment. I recommend to make a good cover letter either highlighting or making your strong points bold, italic and/or underlined. Finally, after you have sent your mail and didn’t get a reply. Don’t let your smile come down from your face. Send a “reminder mail” to the person in the same thread. In some cases, it might get the attention of professor and you can get a reply. It certainly increases the chance.
IF: So Tanmay, could you please highlight us with what work/research project you carried out during the internship period? It’s application in near future and your work in it?
Tanmay: Formal title for my project was “GPU Implementation of lattice Boltzmann method to simulate fluid flow processes”. Generally our codes run on CPU, if somebody is familiar with architectures of GPU (Graphic cards in simple words), their architecture is massively parallel. They are very suitable for parallel programming. Lattice Boltzmann method is a parallel algorithm which is used to simulate fluid flow processes. So my task was to write codes using the algorithm of LBM and made them run on GPU while trying to improve the code performance as much as I could. Basically simulations are done for identifying and characterizing the real world phenomenon, similarly hese simulations are helpful in visualising flow phenomenons. I have written few things about my internship at www.myexperienceasintern.wordpress.com Few things about my working over there, and about a trip. Interested ones may read it out.
IF: How was the work culture of your place? What was the best thing about it and the internship? The difference you found in comparison with the work culture of our country?
Tanmay: On my first day when I went to lab, my lab mates arranged a proper place for me to work. All around me in lab, I could see people working, enjoying, sleeping, eating etc. It was never bore in that lab. When it was work, everybody was set up in full tone and working to their best. Presentations were every Friday to detail about our individual progress. I used to work late at nights generally. If I have to say approximate, my work timings were about 11AM in morning to 3AM in morning. Whenever I couldn’t find bug in my codes, one or two of my lab mates were always there to help me in debugging. Even before presentations, we used to have a mock presentation to point out our plus and minus points.I am sure that the work culture is Taiwan is much better than what I found at my institute. Even I myself was aware about what I have to do, how I have to do, all the time. There were no conflicts and in case of doubts, someone was there to struggle with you till the end.
IF: What project specific problems you or your friends faced, during the internship, which became a bit hard to crack?
Tanmay: My last problem – flow over a cylinder! It was bit hard to crack. I had to go through many papers, forums before arriving finally at my answer. Since sometimes, language became a problem while communicating with lab mates who were not much fluent in English. This problem was worked out previously by one such lab mate of mine. So conceptually as well as vocationally I took bit more time working on this one. But in the end, everything happens for good. I learnt a lot during this one and my final presentation was all about this problem and I had got a lot of good results.
IF: As with almost everything, what were the cons of the internship? The elements which you felt, if wasn’t there could have made this internship super awesome?
Tanmay: Although the internship itself was awesome. But few points as mentioned below could had made it even more
1.Communication problem in market i.e. outside university can be said the biggest con.
2.Stipend for living expense could had been provided for better stay.
IF: Were there any special events during the internships which you would like to share?
Tanmay: Yes. Since this was an internship program. I got chance to visit many places as field trips including research centres, museums, city parks, tech parks etc. Also, there was a welcome lunch and dinners, talks with vice president of the university and few events were organised for Indian interns!
IF: What was the guidance provided by your guide? What all support you received from your intern institute administration.
Tanmay: My guide was very cool! He himself was a very hard working person. When I arrived on the first day, we discussed thoroughly about the project. Every day he used to come once or twice to check if anybody is facing any problem related to anything. He used to give me advices related to academics as well as about Taiwan. For example – I used to consult him and my lab mates before going to any place.
In my lab, as it was a computational lab, clusters of CPU and GPU were there to carry out our simulations. Apart from a good working environment, I got good accommodation and proper guidance at every time from the university.
IF: Could you please guide the readers on any application related area? Any special areas which they should pay importance or anything specific which may give them extra edge?
Tanmay: All the applications for internship are generally same. They need your GPA, SOP, Invitation letter, Recommendation letters etc.A good SOP, better recommendations and an invitation letter surely give an extra edge.
IF: Any suggestion for students who get selected?
Tanmay: I suggest everyone to do extremely good background research on your destination. There might be some benefits, discounts for international students. In Taiwan, for international student, there was a discount of 25% on trains which we came to know a bit later. Things like these help you to save a lot on the expense of your time.
IF: To whom all people you would, like to thank in context of this internship?
Tanmay: Let me start from the start! Internshala shall be thanked first as it helped me in finding this internship.Since my final exams had started while I was working on things to pack, visa matters etc. My friends helped a lot in teaching me the exam things. To name them, Kushagra, Rahul helped me the most in this. All the Indian co-interns Abhishek, Shivam, Yash, Sanjeev and Himanshu were with me and were very helpful before we left India. We discussed together the things ranging from packing to places to visit. While I arrived at Taiwan, my lab mates and my professor shall be most thanked. While my work at Taiwan, I used to contact Amit, Poonam for problems that I used to face. Their help is surely adorable to me. I got to know many Indian PhD scholars and post-docs at NTHU who helped me to get myself acquainted with the surroundings. This is all which I can see. But what I must mention is the help and support that I got from my parents, my family. My family supported me right from visa application till my way back to home. I missed them while being away from them. Last but not the least, almighty! Without his grace, I am nothing in fact!
IF: How much difference this period of 8 weeks made in your intellectual capabilities and mindset. In broad terms what are your gains from this?
Tanmay: Experience and intellectuality! I gained both things from this internship. I got to know about new things, learnt about new technology and worked in a new environment. It all helped me to develop a better personality.
IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?
Tanmay: As I have told, I aspire to become a faculty. Therefore my current target is to grab a master’s degree from a good university. Of course, I am aiming for NTHU again. This internship shall be beneficial in my application as this made me familiar with the academic and non-academic staff of National Tsing Hua University.
IF: Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be?
Tanmay: Well, I should simply thank you for taking this initiative. In fact it will be a great help for students in their applications, preparations etc. I used to search for things like what you’re doing right now. I am sure many students shall be getting benefited from it in the near future.
IF: So Tanmay, we are at the end of the interview. From the entire team of InternFeel, we thank you for taking out your time and sharing your experiences for everyone and we wish you best of luck for all your future endeavors.
Tanmay: It is my Pleasure. Good luck to you as well.