Charpak Scholarship Program Experience – Ritesh

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InternFeel ID: IF15037

Zullu FMFP-2013


InternFeel: Hello Ritesh, we all would like to know more about you. Please tell us something about yourself. 

Ritesh: Well, presently I’m pursuing B.Tech in Civil Engineering from National Institute of Technology Hamirpur. Talking about my academic interests, I love watching documentaries of Civil Engineering Mega Projects all round the world to seek worthyinformative and innovative ideas of B.Tech level. In addition to this I’m having a keen interest in Geo Technical Engineering field and I have been part of a number of projectsand event activities at institutional level of this field of interest. State rank 9 in 10+2 BoardExaminations of Scholarship for Internship in France are the two best and remarkable achievements of my Himachal Pradesh Board of school education, as recipient of Charpak academic career so far. As far as my non-academic or extra-curricular interests are concerned, I love Stage handling and hosting activities. I believe Public Speaking is my key strength. Presently, I’m working as Vice President of C-SOC (Student society of Civil Engineering Department) and Served ROTARACT CLUB as Publicity Co-ordinator and C-HELIX(Departmental Team of CED for Annual Technical festival NIMBUS) as Coordinator. Being a member of Team C-Helix, we received Best event award for “Barrage en Terre” (Technical Event for earthen dam construction) in NIMBUS 2013. Also, I’m working as Class Representative (CR) of B.Tech. Civil Engineering Batch 2010-14 for last two years. In context of sports activities interests, I’m a Team member of Inter Branch and Inter Year SNOOKER tournaments of NIT Hamirpur.Last year, we have won Inter Year tournament and stood runner ups for Inter Branch tournament. I love watching international Snooker Tournaments (especially matches of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson). I love listening music (specially Shreya Ghoshal, Eminem and Billboard Top 100 music series), Love watching TV series Two and a Half Man, reality shows, Roadies and Splitsvilla and mostly Comedy Nights With Kapil. Internship in short: Well, last year I have worked in an Experimental Research Internship project in France for 2.5 months. The financial support for this internship was awarded by Campus France INDIA as 615 Euros/month fellowship of Charpak Scholarship Program.

[su_box title=”Details”]For more details on this internship and to apply, visit Charpak Internship’s page on EduInfo click here [/su_box]

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?

Ritesh: At first, I came to know about International Internships from my beloved seniors when they shared their views on this subject through an institutional level seminar named INTERNS TALK. This talk encouraged and motivated me to apply for such internship programs and they continuously guided us all through the process of application. Social media Facebook through Internship Abroad (Utkarsh) page kept me updated about the information of different internship programs.


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

Ritesh: As far as the competition in selection process is concerned, last year the sense of awareness about international internships raised exponentially as so many people spread the information about the same. Nevertheless, In my opinion, the selection committees of Charpak scholarship program majorly emphasised (about 70%) on Statement of Purpose written by the applicants and rest 30% on academic record and project activities. As per my experience, I recommend my juniors to devote their maximum time (around 1 month) on filling up of Application form of Charpak Scholarship (5 pages) to make is the best and unique amongst thousands.


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

Ritesh: My CGPI was 8.92/10 (on absolute scale) at the time of application. I believe this was my first advantage academically. Secondly, my SOP was the key strength which helped me getting the scholarship. In addition to this,  I’ve worked under the assistance of my institutional professors and seniors for some research project activities, which made my project and experience profile stronger than others. Also, my extra-curricular activities profile made it possible to get an extra edge over the competitors. Also, I managed to do a Beginner level online French language course in the meantime which made my application candidacy better than others.


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

Ritesh: I received a call from French embassy Delhi on March 28, 2013 and they informed me about my receipt of charpak scholarship. OH MY GOD! that was awesome feeling. My friends kicked me hard enough as a part of celebration. I was very very happy that day and I made so many calls to my family, my home town friends and loved ones and informed about my selection and Voyage to FRANCE


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

Ritesh: I asked my professor about some study material in month of January-2013 so that I could prepare myself well after getting a deep insight of the project activity. Also, soon after result the preparation for holidays and weekend travels in France started. All the necessary works like flight tickets booking, VISA, and stay arrangements in France were successfully completed on time.


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

Ritesh: As such there was no big problems before joining, but Passport was the main concern which was really a hectic and difficult task to prepare.


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

Ritesh: Students usually make a mistake while sending an e-mail (a very crucial step) resulting into loss of a big opportunity. So, following guidelines are proposed while sending an email.

1. Never send your cover letter and CV as attached files in your email. Use e-mail writing section for this.

2. Always mention waiting to hear from you at the end of cover letter.

3. Never send mails to two different professors of the same University (department) on a single day.

4. Never copy-paste the same Cover Letter all the time. Edit it based on the Field of interest of recipient professor.

5. Never send mail on weekends and check the office hours of recipient Professor.

6. Avoid sending mails in bulk as it may drop in to spam folder of recipient professor.


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?

Ritesh: Students shall avoid delays in passport preparation. The documents for passport should be 100% genuine and correct in all respects. Around 6-8 weeks is usual duration for passport preparation including police verification. Students should plan well in advance for this. Also, apply for VISA as soon as your voyage is conformed so that you can book relatively cheap air tickets which otherwise turn very expensive if delayed.


IF: So Ritesh, 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?

Ritesh: My research work was an experimental studies for “Determination of Unconfined Shear Strength (Cu) of soft soils using T-Bar and Vane Shear Tests”. Basically the Vane shear test (VST) is a standard test for ‘Cu’ measurement but not efficient enough for designing geotechnical parameters of ground. Usually, field Cu determination is carried out using VST in conjunction with CPT (i.e. Cone penetration test) test which is quite efficient but involves usage of many empirical relationships which reduces its practicability and confidence in decision making. So, for last 2 decadesresearchers are looking for a new device which has the characteristics of both CPT and VST tests. They came up with a device named T-Bar penetrometer, firstly introduced at University of Western Australia (Stewart and Randolph, 1991).

So, my work included conduction of a series of experimental tests on two different types of soils under the natural conditions of drying and consolidation using T-Bar tests followed by comparison of the results thus obtained with a standard Vane Shear Test. The main goal of the studies was to locate the zone of the depth in which the device can be efficiently used and formation of the semi empirical formula based on set of observations.


 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?

Ritesh: I’m feeling amused to answer this one. Well, the work culture there was amazing. The sense of responsibility, dedication towards the work, ethical professional attitude and a strong will to put the best efforts in the work were quite remarkable. Such work culture served as a source of motivation for me to preform best in my field of work. The five day working culture is justified in these places. The best thing that I can recall at this moment is their wishes as BON WEEKEND on every Friday means have a nice weekend. Every day, I used to have lunch at the lab cafeteria along with three other foreign intern students and we used to share cultural and social life of our country. I think we lack in terms of love for the work in our country. As we all have heard that “Work is Worship!”. But sadly, we hardly follow this amazing quote.


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

Ritesh: Frankly speaking as such there was no specific problems that I faced during my internship and I’d like to mention the reason behind this. When I successfully received an acceptance letter from my professor for internship; and after looking at topic of the internship I asked my professor to kindly provide some relevant study material which I can follow before actually beginning my work. He sent few research papers and other stuff for reading. I followed them well in advance which resulted in smooth progression of my research work there afterwards. So, I think all applicants shall request their mentor for some bibliographic study material in order to avoid any possible technical difficulties later on.


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?

Ritesh: Well, there was no technical con which I felt there, but I wish I could know how to play football because the lab people used to play football every Wednesday for one hour after lunch and I used to just admire them playing.


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

 Ritesh: Yes, there were two special events namely Fete de la Musique (June 21) and Bastille Day (July 14). The feeling of being in France was excellent during these events. I accompanied my lab mates and celebrated these two evenings to the fullest.


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

Ritesh: My professor used to have a weekly meeting with me about the details of work progress. We used to discuss the challenges upfront and continuously plan the work ahead. As a scholarship holder I was allotted an apartment in the city from Campus France which was at a distance of around one hour journey from Tram. So, in context of the facilities, my professor took care of the travel expenses which went around 100 Euros during my stay there.


IF: Could you please guide the readers on how to write the Statement of Purpose you mentioned?

Ritesh: First of all readers should realise there is no specific format for writing a SOP. As far as charpak scholarship is concerned, they expect you to write a SOP with minimum one page and maximum two (in Times New Roman 12 sized font) highlighting the reasons for choosing France and the institution where you will be studying. Also, they want you to justify your best candidacy for the scholarship. So, it actually becomes difficult to write a SOP with so much restrictions of pages and font size etc.

Now, based on my experience I’d like to put a few guidelines about writing SOP.

1. Always write it in small paragraph format like a continuous story with no subheadings and note. Each small paragraph shall reflect only one aspect of your SOP. (E.g. academic introduction and college participation shall be putted in separate paragraphs).

2. Spend at least 3 weeks for writing and finalising your SOP. In the beginning periods, write as much as you can and whatever you feel in your mind to write about yourself without worrying about page limit. This technique enlarges the horizon of your thinking and writing ability.

3. Now, start revising it eliminating some useless points and shortening some big points. Doing so will surely make your SOP efficient and well within word limits at the end of three weeks.

4. The specialists or the selection team spend just 2-3 minutes for reading your SOP completely. So if you want them not to miss something unique or special phrases in your SOP, make those phrases bold such that specialists do have a look at these points in quick reading

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

Ritesh: Finance is always a big issue related to the stay in France. The daily life there is quite expansive in all aspects right from travel to food. Students shall bring sufficient cooking accessories and food material with them before departure from INDIA and they can do it during air tickets booking by looking for those flights which allow them to carry about 40-50 Kg luggage (normally 30 kg is there).


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

Ritesh: I’d like to thank my beloved seniors Nikhil Sir, Prinsul Sir and Praveen Sir who besides there busy finalyear schedule found the time to advice and guide us in process on international internships. In addition to this, my at most sincere thanks goes to Campus France INDIA for making this lifetime experience possible for me. My class mates especially Arpit Gupta, Shashank Gupta, Nitin Mangwal and Abhinav Badial who kept me updated about different internship programs and worked together helping each other. I’d also like to thank Internship Abroad (Utkarsh)Page on facebook which really served as the best social media for me.


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?

Ritesh: Well, this experience accelerated my interest in research area in the field of Geo-Technical Engineering. As, a result, I chose Geo Technical research major projects for final year and presently I’m working on it. Also, this lifetime experience added sense of responsibility and maturity in my personality. Fame and popularity in institution are the best outcomes of this experience. I feels very proud to see juniors asking for guidance and appreciating your support and this further motivates me to do as much as I can for my juniors in the same way my seniors did for me.


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

Ritesh: Right now, I’m in process of getting a conformation for masters in France from University of Grenoble and I think this internship experience will surely put the positive impact for this in financial and academic concerns.


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

Ritesh: The innovative and efficient initiation from your Team ‘InternFeel’ is really appreciable and I’d like to put my best wishes to your team for this work. I’m obliged and proud to be a part of your initiative. I strongly recommend the applicants of internships this year to take maximum benefit out of it and make a lifetime experience possible for yourself which you’ll always cherish and remember for the rest of your life.


IF: So Ritesh, 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.

Ritesh: It was my pleasure to devote my time for this noble and selfless cause for helping juniors. Thank you so much for you wishes and letting me share my experience. All the Best!!!

Thank you so much.

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