Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2019

Vivek Malik | Mechanical Engineering

Portland State University, USA

Research Area: Robotics

Duration: 3 Months

1. How did you apply for FT?

Ans: I applied through the Foreign Training Portal (FTP) launched by IR Cell, IIT Kharagpur.
At the initial stage, I was shortlisted for a different project but after the interview with the professor, he realised that I had a strong background in robotics and thus gave me a robotics project under himself only.

How did you manage your finances there?

Ans: I was being paid about 15$ per hour by my professor which was almost sufficient to manage all my expenses including flights, food and accommodation. Overall I got about 6000$ from my professor
out of which 1000$ was deducted as taxes.

3. On a lighter note, how was your stay in Portland?

Ans: I had a great time and made a lot of friends there. We even had a get-together after the first week of our intern and thus met a lot of students. I also went on a trip to Seattle with them.
It was really a great experience.

4. Was there any international body to take care of international students like you?

Ans: There is an office called international students office which takes care of the students coming from different parts of the world. I had to go to an orientation session the very first day and they also helped me with my paperwork

5. How is the approach of students present there different from us in terms of academics?

Ans: Basically in India, we focus a lot on the theoretical knowledge rather than practical aspects.
In India, we are very much restricted to the course and curriculum which is set up by the IIT itself. But in US students are given the opportunity to choose almost all their course themselves.
Professors present there are also very much more interactive than the professors present here at Kgp. We discuss literally anything with them. Also the number of international students they have is much more than us.

6. Why do you think that foreign training is important?

Ans: Foreign training helps you get international exposure. Its is especially very helpful for people planning to go for higher studies abroad. We get to know about the various projects which are going all over the world. It also gives you the freedom to explore as we also get to know about the work which is being done in other labs. For example, I also went to a lab where people were working upon some project in machine learning.

7. How important is CG to go for foreign training?

Ans: Cgpa does play a decent role. Whenever you are emailing a professor for intern he judges you by your CGPA and cover-letter as he/she does not know you personally A good CG implies your dedication towards academics and is also a major criterion for shortlisting students for various scholarship programs as there are a large number of applicants.

8. What would you suggest to your fellow Kgpians who aspire to go for foreign training?

Ans: The reason behind going for FT should not be that you are going for a foreign tour or something of that sort. Only those genuinely interested in research should apply for the same. The experience that you gain there is unparalleled and it helps you think from a broader perspective.