Name of the intern: – Shruti Agrawal
Institute: – IIT Kanpur
Organization interned with: – LIAMA-CASIA, Beijing China
I was quite apprehensive when I came to know that I was assigned my internship in LIAMA CASIA laboratory in Beijing. The thought of living in China ran a wave of terror in me. Being a vegetarian, I did not expect any good food over there and language problem seemed like a hindrance to the basic needs of survival – interaction with people around me. But I was also happy with the big brand name of INRIA attached with it and an opportunity to find answers to all my queries about the mystic land of China. The work was in the field of distributed systems in the Informatics dept. which brought zeal in me to go to China without worrying about other trivial issues.
Anyhow, I reached Beijing and there were series of disappointing incidents on the very first day. I was shown my apartment which was left extremely dirty by the previous residents. There was internet over there but I did not have the authentication details. I did not have any phone with me with enough balance to call up India to inform my parents that I had reached there safely nor could I find any ISD phone booth. I went out on the streets trying to communicate to Chinese people in English to convey my problem of internet and telephone but all the effort was futile.
I passed that first day somehow in the filthy apartment all alone and went to my laboratory of LIAMA CASIA, which again was a prodigious challenge to me. I asked some officially dressed people on the street about the path to the institute and finally reached. And then began my real journey through an interesting project with interesting people. Most of the people in my group were French along with a Lebanese and some Chinese. It was really exciting working with them.
Everyone was very cooperative with each other. Apart from the hours of work, we also spent many happy hours with each other. We often engaged in playing Ping-Pong in the basement of the institute and chit-chats with them on the lunch table about the difference in our culture were enlightening. I was glad to find that they had a huge variety of vegetarian food also! After a week I had got a roommate also who was from Vietnam. She was another kind soul who discovered the epicure in me and took me to many food joints serving the best Chinese food I have ever eaten.
After the first one month of my sojourn over there, and toil in understanding the state of the project, my work had gained a good pace. The work had engrossed me so much that many a times I stayed over there till as late as 11 pm. I had developed a profound interest in that field. Eventually that internship made me decide to pursue my Master’s degree in the same field.
Along with the work, I spent my weekends traveling, exploring, and cooking. I trekked The Great Wall and many mountains. The sight of the prodigious Terracotta Warriors was awesome. I made many Chinese friends in my locality. They all were really amiable. I am still in hearty touch with them. The best thing about Beijing is that wherever you turn your head, you would find a food joint providing variety of savory condiments.
Bidding a goodbye after two and a half month to all the labmates, friends and acquaintances was heart rending moment for me and for them as well. In sum and substance, it was a perfect internship with entire work satisfaction and food for the wanderlust and gourmet in me.
Was this interesting? If yes, please like the post on facebook (below) and help Shruti become winner of the week and win the prize (Rs. 1,000/-) that she truly deserves!