I got the call! I got my foreign internship : Glasgow University, Scotland, UK. (World Ranking 79 university, much ahead of IIT-D which stands at 135)
So, now after being successful, I got the right to write my tryst with this stuff called internship. In a series of Q & A's, I will answer all the doubts, which may turn to be of your help.
1. What is this bug called 'internship'?
-> There are companies and universities which have a provision for providing internship. What they do in an internship is that they offer a stimulating research experience or work experience during vacations especially long summer vacations.
Internship may be funded or unfunded depending on the kind of sponsors and the financial provisions of the institute or the company.
2. Why do foreign universities offer internship? Why do they pay for your expenses?
-> Offering internship to students from aboard helps the professors to enrich their CV and thus enhance their chances for promotions and future academic accomplishment. During the vacations the professors have several PhDs working on some projects and they need assistance. So, professors hire students from abroad.
The fund that they award may be from their University or some sponsors for the research that the PhDs are carrying out. Plus, there are some internship funding organizations too.
3. What are the eligibility criteria?
-> Rather than having a superb academic track-record, the thing that really matters is how you present your track-record. Organized resume, with a balanced description of your academic as well as extra-curriculars is really required. CG is important if and only if you are a non-IITian. IIT brand sells, professors get impressed in the first time they see the word IIT in your resume. I didn't mention my CGPA in my resume and it didn't make any difference.
If you're not an IITian, don't get depressed. Perform well in your institute, get a decent GPA(I am preaching about GPA, heh!) and try to get some recommendations from the professors!
N.B. Don't praise yourself too much in your resume. Be humble, even if you are basically not humble, but BE!
4. When is the right time to send the applications?
-> Start early to have an edge over your friends. One should start atleast during the mid-October. I started on 28th Oct nevertheless, but having an early offset helps you to be ahead of the rest of the janta.
5. How to find the professor?
-> There are some things more important than orkutting that internet offers you to do. Just google the word "Top 200 Universities". Go to every university, find your respective department, click on reasearch and then groups. Find the people associated with the research group and send application to any one of the group-member with the cover-letter clearly describing your enthusiasm for the research-area.
6. What input is required from you?
-> Of about 40 people in every branch, only about 8-9 people manage to get an intern in a good university. The key is not the academic qualification, but rather its perseverance that counts.
Be prepared for rejection and keep trying! Take rejection as there is something better in store for you. Interestingly, I received more than 70 rejections before I got a clear positive.
Perseverance will definitely win. I got my internship after sending more than 640 applications. Most of the people get tired after sending just a 100 or so, and that's the reason they don't get an intern!
The whole of my lecture can be summed-up in five key points:
- Present yourself well,
- Read their area of research,
- Show your enthusiasm for the topic,
- IIT-tag matters a lot
- Persevere, persevere and persevere
P.S. My Stressed out self is finally happy, very happy!
P.S. Thanks to my friend Deepesh for helping me all through the way, right from resume to universities to doing the talkings.