Today we have Debasmitha from Manipal University to share her intern experience from the School of Vehicle Mechatronics, Technical University of Dresden, Germany. We hope you will like this one. So read on!
InternFeel: Please tell us something about yourself. Where and what are you studying currently?
Debasmita : I am Debasmita, a final year student of Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering.
InternFeel: Give us details about your internship – process of application, stipend, duration and place?
Debasmita : I got an amazing opportunity to intern at the School of Vehicle Mechatronics, Technical University of Dresden, Germany for a period of 3 months. I got this internship through an international student body called the IAESTE, which works in about 80 countries. This body releases open offers for contentions for all its members. One candidate is selected per offer by a national committee. The selected candidate’s profile is then sent to the employer who takes the final decision on the selection or rejection of the candidate. If the candidate is selected, the IAESTE local committee assists him with documents required for procuring the right kind of visa, and the IAESTE local committee in the receiving country arranges for accommodation and the paper work required for that particular country. In Germany, the stipend for all IAESTE interns is provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The stipend provided by them is about 650 euros, which is a standard stipend for all interns.
InternFeel: How competitive was the selection process? According to you, which qualities have helped you have an edge in the selection process? Also, what were the key things that selectors were looking for?
Debasmita : The selection process was pretty competitive as there are usually a lot of applications for offers from Germany. The selectors primarily look at the grades, offer related skills, achievements, co-curricular and extra curricular activities. I think a balance between grades and academic projects helped me have a edge in the selection process.
InternFeel: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period?
Debasmita : I was asked to build a drone for assisting drivers in finding parking spaces for their cars. I was given complete flexibility to choose the type of drone and all the components required for it. The project was completely funded by the department. I was placed under three supervisors, who work as full time researchers in the institute. With their assistance, I built an octocopter which was robust, stable and was able to carry a large payload.
I also assisted my supervisors in two other projects involving PCB designing namely designing a protection circuit for a Lithium Polymer battery test bench and designing a circuit for a wireless charger for a Lithium Polymer battery. These projects took me through all the stages of PCB development, from designing to fabrication to testing.
InternFeel: Can you give us interesting details about your experience – good and bad?
- Location: Dresden is located on the eastern part of Germany which is relatively less expensive to live in as compared to the western part of Germany. It is close to a lot of other beautiful places like Berlin and Prague.
- Accommodation: The dorms, even though not very fancy, were good. The best part about it was all the interns were allotted rooms in the same dorm, which made the experience a lot more fun.
- Work culture: What i particularly liked about the German work culture is the amount of flexibility they give you and the way they respect innovation. They maintain a great work life balance which I have found to be lacking in India.
- Food: The food in Germany is particularly very bland and lack spices. Also, it is extremely difficult to survive in Germany if you are a vegetarian, because there are less options you will find in any menu.(Tip: Carry Indian food and spices as much as possible)
- Weather: It can be brutally cold if you are going during winters.
- Expenses: It is way more expensive than India in almost all ways. There are no fixed prices for any product. Each product has a different price in different supermarkets.
- Language: Surviving in Germany without knowing German is quite a task. Everything right from signboards to product names is written in German. Also, finding people who can speak in English is difficult (Tip: Google Translator will come to your rescue everywhere)
InternFeel: How do you think this internship has helped you grow? In other words, what are your key takeaways from the internship?
Debasmita : This internship has helped me grow on many different levels. It has taught me to how to survive independently in a foreign country and make new friends. The bond I have shared with my fellow interns will last a lifetime. It has taught me about the work culture of a different country and taught me different ways of approaching the same problem.
I can say that these three months have been the best three months of my life so far:)
InternFeel: Has this internship had a decision altering impact on your career? Do you now think of a different future path as compared to before doing the internship?
Debasmita : I have always been inclined towards research, and this internship helped me be more sure about my decision of pursuing research as my career. I loved every moment of working as a full time research intern.
InternFeel: Lastly, do you have any words of advice or caution for students aspiring for this internship and reading this piece?
Debasmita : I would say that every student should intern atleast once in a different country. What you take away from such experiences is much more, than a good point on your CV.