Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2020

Vandit Sharma | Electronics and Electrical Communication Engg.

EPFL, Switzerland

Research Area: Human-Computer Interaction

From where did you get the motivation for the FT? How did it all start?

In my second year, I developed an interest and started working on Augmented Reality, Game development etc., alongside Professor Dr. Kaushal Kumar Bhagat. We also published a paper in December 2019. During my 5th semester, I also became interested in Information Systems and decided to start looking for internships abroad. Initially, I did not get a lot of responses through mailing the professors personally. Then around Jan 2020, I applied for the E3 (Excellence in Engineering) Program offered by EPFL. Soon after, I got an offer from a host laboratory.

How did you handle the academics along with your preparations?

It was not a big issue for me. I was focused on my research and academics from the very beginning. Also, I was not involved withmany clubs/societies, so it worked out fine for me.

What do you think is the role of CG while applying for a FT?

If you are contacting professors through emails, I don’t think CG plays as important of a role there.. It basically boils down to the professor liking your research and deeming you fit to work with him/her. At the same time, if you are applying through dedicated programs, barring a few exceptions, the tide always favours people with a high CG(>8.5) because it is more a process of rejection than selection, and CG is generally the first criteria. That being said, there are always exceptions, and a professor may choose you regardless, if your work speaks for itself.

How did the university manage everything amidst the confusion of COVID-19?

Around April, almost one month after the pandemic hit the world, we got the mail for cancelation of the program. Initially, I was offered to come for the same FT next year but me being a 4 year student it was not possible. Luckily, my area of research did not require a lot of physical presence; hence I preferred to do the remote training under the same professor (Dr. Denis Gillet).

How was a typical day’s work like during the training period? Did you face any issues?

I did not face any issues as such. I was allotted a PhD student under the Prof as my advisor who was very cooperative and helpful. We communicated regularly through Slack. He mentored me throughout the process with what to read and what to do. Having said that, there was also a lot of flexibility and I was free to explore the field on my own. We collaborated and made a project from scratch which was an awesome experience.

Any advice you would like to give to fellow KGPians who want to go for a FT?

Firstly, you should choose the field of your training wisely. Do not apply randomly in any field where you have no interest/experience. Also try to figure out this research area as early as possible. Secondly, don’t give up on applying. It is very easy to get disheartened after not hearing from professors for months on end. However, you should not give up and keep applying to as many programs related to your field as possible.