Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2019

Ranajoy Sadhukhan | Electrical Engineering

Simon Frazer University, Canada

Research Area: Medical Image segmentation

Duration: 2 Months

Why did you think FT is essential?
Foreign Training gives us a platform where we can apply what we have learned or gained as a skill. It gives you a hands-on experience on those which are in your field of interest and gives you a chance to hone the skills for which you have spent your precious time learning. You will get well-equipped labs to use and will be surrounded by people who are friendly, interactive, and most importantly, research enthusiasts.
Also, you will get exposure to not only the field which you are pursuing but will get to work with other stuff too.

How did you apply for FT?
I started applying for FT in August, and the Mitacs portal opens up earlier than the rest of the summer research program. So I applied for the Mitacs followed up by DAAD and also applied for a few programs through the IR Cell portal. I had to submit my SOP, CV, and letter of recommendation.
In my experience, it's easier to apply for FT through Mitacs than the rest of the research programs. Since in Mitacs, you have to select out of the thousands of projects given, as per your interest and submit the documents required through their portal. You don't have to separately mail any professor while in the rest of them you have to do so.
So I got shortlisted by Mitacs which followed up by video conference with the respective professor in that project. Since I got my project sorted through MITACS, so I didn't focus on other programs, though I got accepted for DAAD.

Can a present 3rd-year student also apply for the MITACS program who is currently enrolled in a DUAL-degree course?
Yes, Mitacs doesn't have a restriction or so for applying. Even though he is a third-year, he can apply for Mitacs. I applied for the MITACS when I was in the third year. Though some other programs or universities have restrictions as they only take those who are in their pre-final year.

How did you manage your finances?
MITACS funded my internship, and the stipends which I received was more than enough to cover all of my living and travel expenses. Though you have to put your money on travel and living purpose as you don't receive your stipend before joining. But after 20 days or so of your joining your money will get reimbursed. Moreover, you get a student card by the university in which you are working as an intern, and it gives you a considerable amount of discount on everything, including travel expenses in Canada.

How was their work culture?
In the project, there are many PhD students and co-intern, and since our work was quite inclined towards medical purposes, so we needed databases to progress. For that, they have a separate team that used to provide us with the database. Also, they have different methodologies and terminology for algorithms and codes which you have to follow strictly. Since after you are done the project if anybody else is working on it to proceed further, he should be able to understand.

What difference did you observe in the research work over there and in KGP?
They keep track of how much I had progressed in my work, and for that, there were weekly meetings. Besides this, I used to give daily feedback about my work, and if at all, I get stumbled upon something they are ready to help me. Moreover, their research work is very systematic than in KGP.

Did CG play a vital role in your CV?
Yes, CG plays an important role, especially when you are trying to go on an FT through a research program. As observed that research programs like DAAD, MITACS, etc., they select only those students whose CG's are high.

How was your overall experience?
The people in Canada are interactive and helpful, and I didn't find any racism or hatred for outsiders, which you generally expect. Also, everything is accessible, and moreover they gave me a student card.

What suggestions would you like to give to your fellow KGPians who aspire for FT?
First of all, decide what you want to do. Don't try to follow the herd. Think about what interests you the most, and if you don't find it try to explore as research is a long term commitment. Having an FT also helps you to get into higher studies in that university as the professor gets to know about you and if you have done a splendid job over there, then he will prefer you for higher studies.