Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2019

Raman Shaw | Civil Engineering

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA

Research Area: Bond behavior between the ultra-high performance concrete and the pre-stressing strains

Duration: 2 Months

Q: What was your area of research?

A: My area of research was the bond behavior between the ultra-high performance concrete and the pre-stressing strains.

Q: What do you think FT is important?

A: In my case, I have a goal to get an M.S. degree. For that, I want to get myself involved in research as much as possible. FT gave me a wonderful experience. I was amazed by their architecture and planning. Also, I worked with a material not used in India. I am very much inspired to bring such technology to India. During my stay, I learned a lot of new things.

Q: How did you apply for FT?

A: Before applying for FT I read a lot of research journals. Then I jotted down all the research projects currently not in India because there is no need for doing the project which can be done here in India and spending a lot of money from my pocket. I then found the professors involved in one of those projects. I then shortlisted the projects that best suit me. Then I mailed the professors personally and got offers from them.

Q: How did you manage your expenses?

A: It was a tough job because the whole trip was self-sponsored. But the professor there was really nice to me. He paid for my lunch and most dinner bills. In Spite of all this, I had an Indian roommate who was very helpful.

Q: What was your schedule on the campus?

A: After reporting for work, I had to discuss the previous day’s work, prepare a to-do list, work. Then I and my friends sat together for lunch, for which we usually went out. The job continued up to about 7-8 pm. Then I used to return to my stay. I had to prepare my own dinner. The one thing which I felt was really good was the transportation. There I could see the real-time location of buses. And when the buses were unavailable there were cabs which were free for all the campus students.

Q: Were you involved in any extra-academic activity?

A: I could not take out time for any such activities because my schedule was completely packed up. I remember working even on their Independence Day. Only once did I go out to visit the NASA Space Station.

Q: What was the role of CGPA in FT?

A: In my case, CGPA did not play any role. Rather the professor checked on previous works which included two projects and an internship. So rather than CGPA they mainly questioned me about each and every detail I mentioned in my CV in the interview. A CGPA above 8 or 9 is good but your experience matters the most.

Q: Did you face any difficulty on your trip?

A: I had started applying for FT quite late which was why I couldn’t get funded and hence students applying for it must start it around December which is the best time. Also, you must know the itinerary completely. I had to change the airport in New York which I did not know so I had to take out the money from my savings to pay for the taxi which wasn’t worth. You must be very precautious because you will be alone in a whole new place and almost nobody would be behind your back there.

Q: How would you describe your overall experience?

A: I believe that those two months changed my life in a positive way. Now I know the difference between the lives of people in the two countries. The professor under whom I worked was very humble. I got to know their culture and had a great experience, adjusting to a new place where nobody stood behind your back monitoring your situation. The people there were very polite. They always gave me a smile when I walked past them which made me uncomfortable at first but eventually I adjusted to it.

Q: What advice would you like to give to our fellow KGPians who aspire for FT?

A: Firstly people need to have a clear purpose behind their FT. If you are willing to do it just for the sake of visiting a country, you will not be able to enjoy your experience. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. The other thing I would like to add is that before going for FT students must first complete a project and must complete at least one internship.