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09 Sep. 2019

ESEP-INDIA 2019 Abhishek Raghunathan (IIT Madras)

・affiliation :IIT Madras
・duration :May 12-July 24, 2019
・program :Prof. Yuji Suzuki's laboratory, ESEP-INDIA 2019
A bird’s eye view of Tokyo


The Engineering Summer Education Program(ESEP) is an organization from The University of Tokyo, Japan, that organizes a research internship program for students from IIT’s. We had to apply online for the program during December, and the results were declared near the end of February. I was among the selected 7 candidates. Through the program, I was able to work in the Micro Energy Systems Lab, Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo. I also received a stipend of ¥160,000 per month, for a duration of 3 months, which helped me fund my travel, accommodation and everyday costs. My lab was present in the Hongo Main Campus of UTokyo. I stayed in the Nezu area, which was very close to the university, and allowed me to commute by walk (5-10 minutes).

The Iconic Yasuda Auditorium, UTokyo

Research Experience

I worked under Professor Yuji Suzuki and Professor Kenichi Morimoto in the Micro Energy Systems Lab. I was part of the Thermo-Fluids group and my project was to predict and simulate condensation phenomenon in order to improve the performance of a heat exchanger, which the lab was building. My work was to build and validate an ANSYS Fluent function for calculating the heat and mass transfer during the condensation process. The research culture in the university and my lab was very good. The work was quite organized, with there being group meetings once a week or in two weeks where we had to present our work and the professors monitored the progress made and gave suggestions on how to overcome problems. Apart from these, there were also full lab meetings where major milestones in research were presented and the new members of the lab introduced.

A group picture of lab members, professors and visiting students

Everyday Life in Tokyo

The 3 months I spent in Tokyo were very unique and enjoyable, ranging from everyday activities to unforgettable experiences and sights. Tokyo has an amazing public transport system, meaning that there would be at least one train station within one kilometer of your location. Japanese food was very different from my typical meals back in India, though my options were quite limited due to being a vegetarian. The Japanese are very friendly and well mannered, and I heard an uncountable number of Arigato’s and Sumimasen’s, along with a bow to show respect. Tokyo also has a huge number of Shinto shrines and gardens; whose atmosphere is completely different from the fast paced city life of Tokyo.

Tokyo Imperial Palace: A beautiful mix of tradition and technology

The only downside to living in Tokyo would be the extremely high standard/cost of living, especially for food and transport. Thankfully, the stipend given be ESEP was more than sufficient to cover all the expenses.

ESEP also conducted and informed us of several sessions which were unique experiences in themselves, some of them being a Japanese class, a session with Sumo wrestlers, a Japanese tea ceremony, and an international students party.