Rise up and attack the day with enthusiasm. Aman is pursuing Chemical engineering and shares his wonderful experience of internship days.
Life is not about what you want from it, but it is about how well you manage things you get from it to satisfy your “wants”. Also, it feels great to travel together with friends and family, but in reality, it feels awesome when you travel alone.
On August 3, 2014, I received the offer letter from one of the finest Chemical Engineering Professor in the world, teaching at Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM), Germany, stating that the university would be happy to accept me as a summer Intern for two months. I was thrilled and excited and asked my friends to apply in the same university. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone either from my friends’ circle or from anywhere else, with whom I could travel to Germany. Therefore, I tried in some other Universities and Internship programs, but none of them was as good as TUM. Finally, in the month of April, I decided to travel alone.
It was difficult to get an accommodation in Munich in less than two months, but somehow I managed to get one. On May 23, 2015, I went to Germany, with almost zero contacts in Munich. Munich was just an alienated area for me like Area 51. Although, I knew a lot about the same place because of Bayern Munich, but still, I was nervous as I knew nobody there. I did not have a sparkling start to my trip. Even before I could reach my place in Munich, one of my trolley bags and my handbag were torn. I had to leave a lot of my food stuff at the Airport because I had some extra luggage and the authorities were not adjusting even a minute with a student. Things got worst, when I came to know that my accommodation reservation was cancelled due to some Visa issue and I got this information after I reached the Munich Airport, which means that I had no place to go.
Fortunately, after standing alone at the Airport for two hours with no hope, an IITian alumni, working in Munich for eight months, stepped up to help me out for a while. Perhaps, one of the worst start to any great journey. I stayed with his family for 12 days, and then I moved in another apartment for 17 days and finally shifted to a place in Munchner Freiheit, for the remaining 40 days. It was hectic, but I had no option.
Meanwhile, my internship at TUM had started. The project was straightforward – converting biomass to oil using zeolites. My mentor was quite helpful and the students working in the labs were also very friendly, sportive and intelligent. I got an opportunity to meet and interact with students from Indonesia, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Spain, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, U.S, Mexico, Japan and Germany (obvious!). The interaction with them was amazing and thought-provoking. Being an introvert person, communicating with a foreigner is not so easy, but I had no option as I had no other Indian friend. I broke that shyness wall, and now, I really enjoy talking to strangers.
Not only you build contact network, but you also learn a lot about various things, which is required for one’s holistic development. I have never visited a city alone in my life, but the passion to learn more about European culture didn’t stop me. Although, I went to Zurich, Salzburg, Garmisch with some Indian friends, I also went to Amsterdam, Innsbruck, Nuremberg, Dachau (Hilter’s Concentration Camp) and Freising (place which has the oldest Beer Brewery shop in the world), alone when I couldn’t get a traveling companion. Traveling alone also means that you are open to a new person. When we are traveling in a group, we make an invisible capsule around us, which prevents us from interacting with other people, but when you travel alone, you are looking for a stranger with whom you can have a chit-chat or even roam around in the city.
I visited Vienna with an Egyptian student, traveled to Nuremberg with a half Australian, half-German girl and roamed in Amsterdam with an Indian Gujarati student. The overall lesson I learned from my trips in Europe was that traveling in groups is amazing, but traveling alone is much more fun and you make a hell lot of friends. I used to go to my university around 10 am, work till 5 pm, roam around the city till 8 pm, reach home by 9 pm, cook and have my dinner till 10 pm and sleep around 1-2 am after planning for my weekend trips. I have learned the true definition of “being independent” because I had to plan everything by myself – whether it is to deciding where to live, what to buy, from where to buy, what to eat, how much to shop, where to go for the weekend and the list goes on.
I have drastically improved my time and money management skills after spending two months in Germany. I feel much more confident now because of all the great experience I had in Munich. Although I wasn’t paid anything from the university as they had failed to notify me about the Visa requirements to get the stipend, the experience I gained can’t be taught by anyone through any book or bought in any currency. With lots of my memories and gifts in my bags, I boarded my return flight to Delhi from Munich via Doha on July 27, 2015. “Your story might not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are, it is the rest of your story, who you choose to be” #Kung Fu Panda 2
If Aman’s experience motivates you, you can check the latest international internships.
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