DAAD WISE Program Experience -Shreya Sah, NIT Rourkela

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InternFeel ID: IF15039

shreyasah Her areas of interest include renewable energy sources, and mass transfer operations. She pursues watching movies, playing computer & mobile games and badminton as her hobbies. She is also the DAAD Young Ambassador of NIT Rourkela for session 2013-2014.

She was selected in DAAD WISE Internship 2013 for carrying out research internship in Carl Von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany for duration of 70 days. DAAD WISE is a scholarship program which provides funding to a B.Tech 3rd and 3rd/4th year of an integrated course to pursue a research internship in any Public German University for a minimum duration of 60 days and a maximum of 90 days. For this applicant must have one letter of invitation from the host German professor under whom he/she wants to work. DAAD offers stipend on daily basis (21.7€/day – including Saturday and Sunday), air fare of 525€ -550€ and a compulsory health insurance. Apart from this visa fees are also paid by DAAD.

So let’s know more about her experiences!!

InternFeel: 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?

 Shreya: In my 2nd SEM, I heard a senior talking to his friend about his selection in DAAD and this is how I came to know about DAAD. Later on I googled it myself and contacted many seniors of my college who got selected. I give a huge credit to the Internships Abroad (Utkarsh) group on Facebook which was formed by one senior.

IF: How much competitive is the selection process? What things you feel are looked for in the applicant by the selectors?

 Shreya: The selection procedure for DAAD was very tough as compared to other internships like Mitacs, SN Bose, and IAS Bangalore. First a person has to mail different Profs in Germany and get acceptance which I think is the most hectic and time taking process. Results were announced in 2 rounds last year. The whole application is scrutinised in Germany. I think CV plays most vital role in selection. CGPA just increases the chance of selection. Apart from this Letter of Recommendation, Letter of Motivation is also important.

 IF: What qualities of yours – educational / otherwise, you feel helped you in having an edge over the selection process?

 Shreya: I guess my previous work experience on a small project in my department and my participation in a National Conference in NIT Rourkela played an important role in my selection.

 

IF: Approximately when you got the news for the selection? How was the celebration?

 Shreya: I got selected in 2nd round whose results were announced on Feb. 27, 2013 a month after 1st round’s results was declared. I left all hopes after I got rejected in 1st round. So this result was totally unexpected. Celebration was not too big because I was shocked like anything and got fever 😛

 IF: What all preparations you did (academic/otherwise) before joining and after the results?

 Shreya: After my selection I got only 1 month to plan my whole trip. Finding accommodation was a big issue. Thanks to my roommate, Kajari Bera, another DAAD scholar from IISER Bhopal who helped me in finding room. Since all the stipend money is transferred in our German Bank Account, a week after we open it in Germany, so I had to pay for my tickets, Eurail pass and everything. Also my documents came late so I applied late for my visa. Thanks to DAAD Delhi team for organising Pre – departure sessions for helping all selected candidates with their ongoing preparations. Also I made one SBI international youth debit card to carry some money with me. I also made one International student Card which helped me in getting discounts in many places in Germany and in other parts of Europe during my trip.

IF:Any problems that you faced before joining, which you feel could have been easily avoided if known in before?

 Shreya: As I said, DAAD organised a Pre – departure sessions for all selected students, so I didn’t face any problem because everything starting from medicines, food, clothes that needs to be carried was well explained by DAAD team. They also gave link for finding location like rentals, student dorms. For all veg students it is advisable to carry a lot of food as I did, because finding veg in Europe is very difficult. Also Europe is pollution less continent. So don’t carry many clothes. Please focus more on food if you are veg.

IF: Any common mistakes which you feel students should avoid while searching and applying for internships?

 Shreya: Yes definitely, I would say to all students kindly avoid using CC and BCC option in Gmail while sending mails. Try mailing one Prof at a time. No group mailing please. And please go through profs website once before mailing him. And check your CV and cover letter before mailing. You can use these 2 links to find Profs in Germany: research-explorer.dfg.de and tu9.de

IF: With this internship being foreign internship, we would like to know what problems came in getting the visa, travel tickets, and any journey related problems which your juniors may avoid?

 Shreya: I didn’t face any problems in getting Visa, tickets and my journey. It’s just that I had to do all in 1 month because of late selection. DAAD explained everything time to time. Plus Visa fees was paid by them, so no tension of making Drafts was there and also for students who faced some problem, DAAD also contacted the visa office on their behalf, stating the seriousness of the situation. J They are there to help you even after the end of your internship.

 IF: So Shreya, 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?

 Shreya: I worked in field of Computational Chemistry. My topic was Molecular Optimisation of Thallium and Potassium based Crystal Structure. I did it under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Thorsten Klüner of Chemistry Department and Wilke Dononelli, his maters student. My job was to find the optimised structure of a synthetically created crystal by varying parameters. Since my part was the first stage of project and properties of crystals are yet to be found out, so I cannot comment on its application.

IF: What was the best thing about the work culture and the internship? What all things you liked there? The difference you found in comparison with the work culture of our country?

 Shreya: The work culture in Carl Von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, was excellent and much more than I expected. Punctuality, dedication, fun and most important friendly and polite attitude of all my lab mates helped me a lot to gel up with them in very short span of time. Germans believe in working hard on weekdays and partying hard on weekends and this is what had long lasting impression on me. I and my roommate, we both worked till Friday evening and went on Europe trip J every weekend.

IF: What project specific problems you or your friends faced, during the internship, which became a bit hard to crack?

Shreya: Regarding safety issues, I went to Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Austria and Germany was the best out of all. People are so responsible citizens there and best thing is they fear from Police. Everyone is ready to help you at any point of time. Girls can walk safely in night also. Regarding food, being a pure veg, even I was very much tensed and so were my parents. But I managed nicely with rice & daal, chapatti, cornflakes, breads etc for 70 days. Thanks to DAAD, now I eat rice daily: P. Milk items in Germany are very tasty and cheap and one can find food items like Basmati Rice, Chips, and Snacks at reasonable rates in stores like Aldi. My roommate contacted one senior who (went Oldenburg last year for internship) for accommodation and my Prof booked it on our behalf. His secretary personally met the landlady to check the rooms and facilities. Mine was a very beautiful hut shaped bungalow with all facilities starting from a well-furnished Kitchen and a dining room to a beautiful garden and country side location. I paid 200€/month. I also rented a bicycle at 20€/month for transportation.

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?

 Shreya: Till date I have only seen pros and pros of getting selected in this internship. Whatever today I am as a person is because of this internship.

 

IF: Was this your first internship?

Shreya: No, I did my summer training in NTPC Kahalgaon in my 2nd year. This indeed was my first foreign trip and first research internship.

 IF: It would help the readers and other aspirants if you could bring a comparison among your two different experiences.

 Shreya: NTPC internship was a very good one and what I learnt and experienced there was totally different form DAAD. First of all it was located in my home town (Kahalgaon), so I didn’t miss chance to spend my vacation with my family and had good food throughout my vacation J which I definitely missed in Germany. Next here I came across various aspects of day to day proceedings of this mega industry. And in Germany, I got chance to learn new culture, met different people and it helped developing my interpersonal skills.

 

IF: Were there any special events during the internships which you would like to share?

 Shreya: Yes there was a 3 days – DAAD Berlin meet where all 162 DAAD scholars met. Best thing about this meet was we got Indian food for first time after 1 month in June J. Next I met friends from my college who were interning in other parts of Germany. It felt so homely in that 3 days. Plus the arrangements that DAAD team made was awesome. Cruise ride, five star hotels, Indian food, Berlin trip, what else can you expect J.

 

IF: What was the guidance provided by your guide? What all support you received from your intern institute administration?

 Shreya: My prof always encouraged me with my project because my background was little different. He gave me ample time to learn software and masters students working under him were always there to guide me. Even we were offered our personal working space in lab and our computers were specially configured in English language. He invited me and my roommate to attend all the department seminars that took place in those 70 days. For me and my friend all those seminars were held especially in English.J.

 IF: Any special experience which you had during this period, which you would like to share with us.

 Shreya: The whole experience was really special and is very much close to my heart. But what I really liked, was my first day in Deutschland. Hendrik Spiker, a master student came to receive me in Bremen Airport and incidentally my phone was not working. Even wifi failed to connect. I was not able to contact my family. It was around 11 pm in night in India and my family was very much tensed, and so was I. It was Hendrik who then offered me water and his phone to make a call to India. He kept on taking to me throughout our way to Oldenburg, and his friendly and polite behaviour really made my first day in Deutschland a memorable one J.

 

IF: To whom all people you would, like to thank in context of this internship?

 Shreya: I would like to first convey my thanks and gratitude to my God and then to my parents. It was their support that today I am giving this interview J. I would also like to thank my friends: Shambhavi, Chitra, Smriti, Deepak, Meenhaz for being there in all my good and bad times. A special thanks to all my seniors for their constant support. Last and the most important, I wanted to say thanks to Kajari Bera, my roomy. If my mom could make up her mind for this internship, a big reason is you. Thanks for your help and support and those lovely dinner that you made for me. I miss them seriously J.

 

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?

Shreya: Now I am a totally changed person with a more open mind set and ya as a person, I am more confident person, fun loving. This internship has changed my way of seeing things. And to some extent I am a more responsible person than I used to be.

 IF: What advice you would like to give to your juniors, which can help them in getting internships in their future college life?

Shreya: Please apply as early as possible if you really want to go for DAAD because the process right from the beginning is very time taking. I would suggest to start looking for Profs from August itself in you third year. For 2nd years, please focus on improvising you resume and CGPA from 3rd SEM only. It helps a lot in long run.

 

IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship will have on it?

Shreya: Right now I am looking for a good job.

 

IF: Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be?

 Shreya: It is a very good initiative taken by InternFeel and it would be very much beneficial in sense that it covers many important queries and doubts that we as an applicant come across.

IF: So Shreya, 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.

Shreya: Thank you J,  I am adding here important links for this internship, kindly check them always:

http://www.daaddelhi.org/en/14498/index.html

http://www.daaddelhi.org/imperia/md/content/newdelhi/wiseannounce.pdf

http://tu9.de

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