Summer Internship with the University of Catania – Italy – a great learning experience

About Author: Avinash is a B.Tech(Electrical Engineering) graduate from Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He interned as a Research Analyst at the University of Catania, Italy.

I did my Internship at CePTIT (Centre for Promotion of Technology, Innovation and Transfer) Research Lab, Department  of Electrical Engineering, University of Catania, Italy. I was in my 3rd year of B.Tech at NIT, Jaipur when I was looking for some opportunity which could give me a deep practical insight into the knowledge I had gained during my three years of B.Tech course. I decided to pursue an internship at some foreign university as they have a lot to offer rather than just academic experiences. I applied to a number of universities and finally got the opportunity to pursue my summer internship with the University of Catania, Italy.

I was very excited. Achieving not only an internship position, but one at such a prominent university, was extremely thrilling. I was bit nervous too as the university was one of the best in Europe and the project offered was very challenging. I started my internship in May, 2008. I met my professor (Head of research lab) and guide who were really fantastic. The professor was a really nice and humble person who talked with me on various subjects to make me feel comfortable which actually helped in breaking the ice. The mentor was also a friendly person who was full of wit and humor. He explained to me the project I had to work on. He had actually made the list of milestones I needed to achieve during the project. After that, I met the entire team of research fellows working at CePTIT. The best thing was that they were all from various European countries and it was the best opportunity for me to work with people from different ethnicity and cultures.

Research Lab Experience: We were a team of three who had to work on the project. There was a girl from France and a boy from Poland. As all of us had different educational experiences, we decided to spend first day to know more about the educational background of each other. This actually helped us develop a strong bond, know each others strengths etc. I really liked the company of my project-mates and enjoyed working with them. All the research scholars used to have lunch together. During the lunch hours, I used to interact with other research fellows as well to know more about their educational system, culture etc. They were really interested to know more about India. In fact the professors asked me to make two presentations – one on Indian culture and the other on tourist places in India, especially on Taj Mahal. Working at Catania University proved to be a great learning experience for me.

Hostel Experience: I would say that I enjoyed the time spent at the hostel more than the work at research lab. There were more than 60 people from different countries. Within no time I got along with most of them. Football Euro Cup started during the same time and we all spent a lot of quality time in the TV room. We used to have parties on Saturdays and even visited a number of places in and around the town. Some of us also used to share the kitchen and in this way we tasted dishes of various countries too. We even went to play football at night. It was a wonderful experience to play football in a huge ground with lights on. I even took out some time to visit Rome, Venice, and Palermo with a bunch of friends. It was really an amazing experience which I find difficult to express in words.

Time to bid Adieu: Along with the team, I completed the project well on time. The guide and professor appreciated my work. The professor even offered me to pursue PhD under his guidance. The internship taught me many lessons which have helped me grow, both on a personal and a professional front. On a personal level it has helped me emerge as a better individual while on the professional front I got the chance to work in a team with students from other cultures, get adapted to different cultures and become capable to value the differences, become more mature and independent, more tolerant and understanding. It also goes without saying that one develops social and professional links which one will cherish throughout life. It was a memorable and enjoyable experience altogether.

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