By Rajat Goel, Batch of 2012
A Camping trip in the forest, living in tents, cycling for 150 kms , playing ball at the beach, International Jazz Festival all in the company of 6 strangers from all over the world – France, Mexico, New York, Canada, Egypt, India. That is one of the many memories I have from my summers away. Summer filled with unforgettable memories was my motivation to apply for a foreign internship. For the academicians out there rest assure foreign internships offer much more than the thrill of staying abroad alone. Some of the benefits of foreign internships are that they:
- Give you an insight into the system of education and of work culture abroad which is helpful because if you are planning to study abroad you get the feel of living there early on in life. Along with that you get to learn a lot and work with people from different countries which helps you understand the working culture and gives you practical exposure which is an amazing experience in itself.
- Give you an edge during placements as you have an experience of working in the industry, you become well aware about the approach to work and it gives you a chance to differentiate yourself.
- Prove to be an excellent bullet point in your resume while applying for MS as you can brag about being accepted into a foreign university and performing excellently.
Enough with the reasons for why internships are important. Here I am going to share my experience of applying for internships.
My internship process started with the initial self doubt- The doubt about whether I was good enough to be selected, whether I have written a good cover letter, whether my resume highlights my passion for pursuing research, whether the professor will even consider me amongst the thousands of applications he must have got. I could go on and on about the hundred negative thoughts I got during the process. To all the people out there having similar thoughts, I will say give it a shot. You may not get accepted at first but the secret to crack this application procedure is to keep going. Be patient and believe that hard work pays. Easier said than done but taking one step at a time and who knows you might end up spending the next summer abroad. Before you guys get bored of the “gyan” let me start with the application process.
- Try and figure out your interest areas in your particular stream
- Possible research areas – computer algebra, computer vision, artificial intelligence, operating systems, programming languages, cloud computing, etc.
- The best way to understand these research areas is read about them on Wikipedia, it will make you aware about the basics and then you can easily figure out what interests you and what sounds boring.
- Next step – resume preparation. Preparing a resume can be time consuming and tiring but do it properly anyway since resume talks about your hard work, your skills and your knowledge. Few key pointers to address in a resume:
- Clearly highlight your experiences, project and competitions you might have won/participated in.
- Talk about the skills you acquired while working on the projects.
- Get it reviewed by seniors. (trust me this makes a difference!)
- Once prepared, a good resume will serve a long time purpose. So give time to yourself while you prepare a resume.
- Links: Resume Preparation: bit.ly/anf16U, bit.ly/904jeC
Layout of the resume: bit.ly/cMeHG8, bit.ly/4eMFxV
Lists of Universities: www.4icu.org, bit.ly/9VumUL
- Another important document that you need to stress upon is your cover letter since it will convince the professor that you will be an asset to him. The cover letter template should broadly cover the following points in the given order:
- Briefly introduce yourself and NSIT.
- Stress upon the qualities you possess and back them up through appropriate examples from your previous projects.
- The duration of the internship and your research areas should be included.
- Mention slightly about your excellence in your pre-university life then move on to your motivation to apply for this particular university.
- Include that if you do not have any vacant posts, kindly refer to someone who can help.
- Once your cover letter and resume is ready start researching about the universities where you would be sending your applications.
- Develop an excel sheet which consists of the professor‟s name, mail-id, interest area to help you keep track of your applications and the replies.
- Customizing your cover letter and your resume according to the university you are sending your application to is a must. DO NOT forward the same cover letter without researching and about the university and professor as that will reduce your chances of getting a reply. While customizing the template, pay attention to these points:
- The motivation for the applying to the university which you should figure out while reading university’s website.
- List of the research areas you are interested in should also be aligned according to goals of the professor.
- If you have any experience in that particular field do bring those out.
- The maximum number of applications to any university should not be more than 8 -10.
- Now all you have to do is send your emails (preferably through college email id) and pray to god that a positive response comes back.
- Repeat the above mentioned step.
List of universities that replied back positively:
- Dartmouth College
- Vanderbilt University, Nashville
- University of Michigan
- Dortmund, Germany
- University of California
- Rutgers, New Jersey
- Texas A&M
- Ryerson University
- University of Warwick
- University of Freiberg
Finally I would just say be patient and perseverant. Get up and start writing mails to the professors for internship. If I can get a reply so can you. All the Best!