International internships do not imply round-the-clock studying; they are a good blend of work, fun and exploration
I always had a dream of visiting Europe, exploring its culture and experiencing its academic environment. I got the opportunity to apply for the international internship in the beginning of 2019. The Department of International Affairs and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UPES, Dehradun, helped me a lot with the registration process of the internship. I never faced any difficulty during the process. Right from document submissions to visa processing, UPES helped me throughout and took good care of me until I returned to India safely.
I feared going abroad alone for the very first time, but the support of the international department helped me overcome that fear. They supported us and helped us with the booking of flight tickets and with our safe journey to the host university, i.e. École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et des Microtechniques (ENSMM), Besançon, France.
Ms. Anne Bonnie, who was in charge of the International Department of ENSMM, France, never let us feel that we were a thousand miles away from home and took care of us like her own family. We never faced an issue with the stay or any other arrangements as she was with us all the time to sort out our problems. Ms. Anne had a welcoming and helpful nature. She introduced us to several people of diverse cultures. I cannot thank her enough for the help she provided to us during the three-month period of our stay. We had a lot of fun together and developed a bond like that of a family.
I did my research internship at FEMTO-ST, the research partner of ENSMM, France. I worked under the mentorship of Prof. Nathalie Bodeau and Prof. Pierrick Malecot. They both helped and guided me. I learnt a lot of new things from them and never felt burdened by the work. I really liked their practical and theoretical approach towards their work. They were the best mentors I could have ask for. I am still in touch with them and had the opportunity to work with them post my internship as well.
International internships do not imply 24×7 work; they are a good mixture of work, fun and exploration. After our internship work hours, we would have a good time exploring Besançon and all of its European culture. The people there was extremely nice and helpful. We made good friends during our internship and we would hang out after work hours. They helped me explore France and learn about each other’s culture.
I visited four countries during my internship – Italy, Germany, Switzerland and France. The working hours were so flexible that if work and time were managed carefully, you could easily explore other countries as well. I observed that European people manage their time very effectively and that is one of the most important things I learnt during my stay in France. I also learnt that any work done should be done with full dedication. These are tiny things, but they add great value to our lives. I also learnt that one should be happy doing the work they do, because only then can they give their 100 per cent to that work.
I did not face any major challenges in France during my international Internship, although language problems were a minor hitch we faced. There were a few people in France who did not speak English. But that was not a major drawback as we used Google translator!
Another minor hiccup was food. It takes time to adapt to new things but it was sorted within a few days and the positive part was, I learned how to cook nearly everything and my mom is super proud of that.
Overall, it was an amazing experience. European culture is worth exploring. I am grateful to UPES for giving me such a wonderful opportunity and for helping me throughout the process.
(The writer is a student of B.Tech. Mechanical Engineering, from the batch of 2016-2020. In the year 2019 (May-July), went for his summer internship to École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et des Microtechniques (ENSMM), Besançon, France)