1) Brief Introduction
Research Internship plays a very important and crucial role for someone to explore his field of interest and also open other career opportunities. It’s not only about having industrial experience in one of the world class university but you also get to know about their hospitality, cultural-diversity, social-technological innovation and lifestyle.
This Year I did internship at Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo, JAPAN which was a unique experience for me. It’s research environment also encourages me to go for further studies. There are many project from all field of engineering. Previously in Dec,2014 I had attended a course on High-Speed-Railway under ISWT Course, so I chose to go for project related to Railway and Transportation Engineering, which is one of my field of interest.
2) What was the selection procedure? Any specific tip for getting selected(regarding CV/Projects/Recommendations)?
I got selected through India-Japan Education Program (abbreviated as IJEP, collaborative industry-academia-government linking effort) which was just started in 2015. The Program was only open for several IIT and IIM. Filling application form starts in mid-November. Application was very easy to fill up. You have to create an account on their portal and then proceed step-by-step. The steps include detailing your personal information, educational background, CV & transcript, previous research internship and area of interest. Apart from this, you have to write Statement of purpose (don’t copy and paste, some novelty has to be there, if you really want to get selected) and one letter of recommendation (which has to be uploaded separately on their portal by professor). SOP and previous experiences was very important in any selection procedure, so try not to make any false assumptions.
Every institutions will like to invite student based on their GPA, so higher GPA gives you an edge over applicants with lower GPA, but other factors also mater a lot.
3) What was your project?(Some details about it)
I worked on Weigh-In-Motion System (abbreviated as WIM), a reliable weighing method in transportation engineering which used to overcome great damage to the road caused by the overweight vehicle and to solve the traffic security problem & the transportation market risks. I was expected to verify the numerical and experimental analysis with simulation analysis(software used SIMPACK).
4) How was the work atmosphere? How did you utilized the free time? How was the accommodation/food?
My campus was near-by Tokyo. Tokyo is really a good place to live. Everything here are very user friendly and goes in a systematic way like public transportation system. It’s has the best combination of modern and traditional Japan within. People here are always ready to help you even if they have to go out of their way. It is one of the most populated area of Japan and have large no. of foreigner too. I loved to experience this multi-cultural society which gave me a chance to connect with people from all over the world. The working atmosphere was pretty enjoyable. We get to know about their work culture. Their was no such restriction of working hours, we were free to work on our pace. There were many students from different countries working in my lab. Interaction with many research scholar, postdocs and professor is plus point in any foreign internship. We participated in event Tanabata and Bon-dancing during International gathering, attended tea ceremony. Weekends are completely free, so we explored many parts of japan. My personal favourite places in Tokyo include, “Ueno Park”, “The Imperial Palace”, “Odiba(statue of Liberty replica)”, “Akihabara”, “Akashi Kaikyo Bridge” etc. We visited kobe earthquake memorial park by Shinkansen, climbed Mt. Fuji till 8th station (faced -5 degree Celsius over there). About accommodation, we were group of three people (2 from IIT-KGP and 1 from IIT-M) sharing a apartment near university. Food was quite expensive there, so I used to cook most of the time with my roommate. For Vegetarian people, its not that difficult to find food of your choice, You will easily get Indian grocery shop near a place called shin-okubo.
5) How does this intern help in your long term career goals?
These types of Research Internship open new options for you at international level. Pursuing higher studies is one of the option, there are many more. In a country like India, technology transfer is much needed step to develop and prosper. You will love to stay here forever once you visit. Honestly Japanese language will not be a big problem for you as we have more than 385 language throughout India but we are still connected. The technology/Equipment’s which we use here are just the best known throughout, so JAPAN is the best place for Technologist.
I will conclude that an international internship is breakthrough for undergraduate student to explore his interests and many opportunities. It is not only about getting technological exposure, handling new equipment but you will also get a chance to experience a new learning environment, cross-cultures, lifestyles, languages etc. You will meet people from different areas. Most important thing, you are the one who are going to represent India and its culture for a very short period of time. All these things make you feel proud and confident.