Doors of Europe and the interesting stories behind them

(Outline only. This is not the complete article. This is a mere layout. I write when I feel like writing.

My research internship at a CNRS Lab in France carried me to Europe. In a conscious effort to revive from the culture shock, I explored the various places in Europe and it helped me to understand the European lifestyle, the thinking of people etc. One of the many things that caught my attention was the majestic doors and windows. I kept walking on the streets of Compiegne during the first weekend. Having an avid interest in graphic designing, the beautiful bold typefaces on the store fronts kept me captive. Calligraphic fonts, bold serifs, slab serifs and a lot more. However, I am writing this about an essential part of buildings which often many ignore in the grandeur of automobiles and beautiful buildings.

At first, it seemed like I am the first one to discover these majestic doors. I thought of creating an entire Facebook page dedicated to the doorways from around the globe. However, Google helped me to know about the various art forms that distinguish these doors, the story behind them and much to my disappointment about various existing projects and travel diaries of people who were equally marvelled by the doors and windows of Europe.

Notre Dame de Paris’s Western Facade

-French Gothic Architecture

– Location: Ile De La Cite

– 4th Arrondisement

– The western facade has three portals, namely Portal of the Virgin, Portal of the Last Judgement and the Portal of St Anne.The three portals are not identical.

The Portal of Last Judgement, which is also the largest of the three, is the last portal to be completed in 1220-1230.

The central statue is of ‘Beau Dieu’ (a Christ teaching) and to the left and right are the statues of the disciples like St Andrew, St John, St Peter etc. Under the tympanum, there are two lintels. On the upper lintel, the archangel Michael is weighing the soul of the dead. The good souls are directed to the Christ’s right and the condemned are directed by the devil to the left, that is to hell. The lower lintel shows the resurrection of the dead.





Finding a Summer Research Internship

Summer Research internship is not just about quality research projects.When your work takes you to places, one can experience new culture and cuisine. Further, travelling brings newer dimensions in you.

I would like to emphasize on the fact that it is better to have some research experience before applying to some summer research internship abroad. If you haven’t found one, just get associated with a professor. This gives you an edge to sort out the various universities or labs and also save time in writing the e-mails as you don’t have to change the content according to the research interest of the professors which most people do. Further, I believe it is worth your time to go abroad if you are really motivated and passionate. Trust me, if you have some research experience, then you can find an acceptance in a lab.  However, funding is the most important factor when it comes to an undergraduate internship.

If you are a junior undergraduate, there are several scholarship programs like DAAD, Charpak Research Intern, MITACS Global Link, NTU-India Connect, Khorana, etc. One can look for other scholarship programmes at .These programs usually demand the applicants to have good academic performance, say above 8.50/10.0. Also, students from premiere institutes are at an advantage in these programmes. Further, in many of these internship programmes, there are two level of selection committees, primary selection in India and then the country of research. A lot of other factors like statement of purpose also play a crucial role. However, the two most important factors are GPA and your department rank. Students in top 10% of their department and from a premiere institute demonstrating strong academic performance, but without a research background often get through. Let’s say the case of Germany, usually labs don’t sponsor the internships, although I know exceptions as well. The entire funding is from DAAD. However, if you are passionate about research and don’t meet the eligibility criteria, should you stop your internship dreams? Hence, I will mention about finding labs and interning abroad without going through the scholarship application process, but with funding.

1.Minimum Wage

The first thing to look out is the countries that have a minimum wage payment. France has a minimum wage of €546.01 (I received this amount although I read it to be around €554 before applying) per month for internships lasting between 2 to 6 months. However, there are some labs that pay for your accommodation as well. Some labs also pay you less than this or some may not pay you at all. So, just ensure beforehand. According to Belgian legislation internships must be paid, when not part of an education curriculum. The minimum wage is €751 net per month (for interns of 21 years and older; this includes possible grants). Look out for educational institutions in Australia and Luxembourg as these countries have the highest per hour rates. Further, there are several Australian Universities in the top 100 rankings in both Shanghai and QS World Rankings. Ireland has a minimum wage rate of €9.55 per hour. Ireland is a major hub of medical technology and one can approach professors in some famous colleges like Trinity College, Dublin.

2. Don’t ignore smaller universities

Bigger labs and universities often have insufficient funds for internships. So, never hesitate about finding professors in other universities. One can find reputed professors in many lower ranked US universities. From my point of view, it’s better to pursue a project under a guide/mentor willing to help you in publication, who frequently addresses your queries and can write a letter of recommendation for you. If you can come up with a research paper from a 3 months internship, this will be a big achievement. Often interns are left to explore topics from scratch and this takes a lot of weeks before you actually begin a work. Sometimes, interns are hired to validate the experimental results. Sometimes, interns are supposed to assist postgraduates. Hence, be selective about the nature of the work that suits you.

Things to look out before selecting an internship.

  1. Professor/Mentor: Your core field of interest and the professor’s interest must have a match. Look out for some his/her latest publiations. One can ask the professor to have a skype chat or interview before finally selecting him. Use Google Citations index to find out about the number of citations and other details about the professor. This actually works.
  2. University Reputation: Never ever shy to apply to the top universities or professors even if you don’t have a stellar profile. You will learn about the research activities which are going in the top notch fields of your interest. Further, this will help you mail professors or sort out universities during MS or Ph.D. application. But remember that your project and the outcome matters more than the reputation when it comes to an internship. So, don’t be merely blinded by the brand although it helps to build good network. All I can say is try. This was a mistake I commited as I had applied to only 18 labs mostly in France and Australia and got acceptance in 2.
  3. Pursue if you see a faint hope: If you get an acceptance, then don’t stop until the administrative process is over. If you are going abroad without a scholarship, be mentally tough to complete the official procedures well in time. All I can say is ‘Don’t stop till you see through!!!’

Find out the effective way to write an e-mail to a professor for a summer research internship in my next post.


Coming up with my new posts…

  1. Cell Banks
  2. How close are we to the Iron Man?
  3. AutoHeal like Wolverine: Deciphering the self-healing property technology
  4. Finding an Internship in France
  5. Finding a summer research internship abroad
  6. Finding an accommodation in France for Internship
  7. Coming to Compiegne for an internship
  8. The South v/s North France
  9. Pugeyeut and Renault and no Volkswagen
  10. The Heineken Experience: From a Teetotaler’s perspective
  11. Documents to check before coming for an internship in France
  12. Prosthetics Market in India
  13. Stent Price Cap and It’s Effect on Indian Medtech Economy
  14. The New Generation of Stent Research
  15. Why are there so many Africans in France
  16. The Doorways of Europe
  17. Telemedicine
  18. Artificial Ventilation in Neonatology


Career Options after 12th Science PCM except Engineering

Engineering Colleges have been springing up like wild mushrooms in India in the last one decade. The number of colleges has gone up from around 1500 in 2006-7 to over 3500 in 2016-17. So, the statistic is the testimony to the fact that a large number of students join engineering streams after Class XII/Intermediate. I feel that many students join engineering due to the lack of insight into vast multitudes of career opportunities except engineering or medical. Well, I will jot down the various career options after 12th Science PCM except engineering, with synoptic overviews. I would refrain from all technology and applied sciences related branches.

Basically, I would classify the choices into 2 groups:

  1. Streams for which PCM has significance
  2. Open Streams
  3. Streams for which PCM is important

The following career choices demand students with PCM background.

  1. Pure Sciences Streams
  2. B.Sc: Bachelor of Science is a 3-year program with honours in one of the subjects, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geology, Economics, Physical Science or Forensic Science. There are several state run universities and colleges which intake students based on the marks secured in the class 12 board exams. Some reputed universities like Banaras Hindu University conduct their own entrance exams and the admission is solely based on ranks. Some colleges also offer Bachelor of Arts (Economics Honours).
  3. Integrated B.Sc.+M.Sc. or B.S.+M.S.: NISER and the 7 IISERs are reputed national research institutes. NEST is a compulsory test for admission into 5 years integrated M.Sc. Course of NISER. It is a very competitive exam and admits only 100 students every year. However, the selection procedure for IISERs is through 3 channels: Central/State board exam, JEE Advanced ranks and KVPY. All admitted students to IISERs and NISER receive a monthly stipend and also some additional grants for academics and research
  4. B.Sc.+B.Ed: This degree program is most suitable for students who want to pursue a career in teaching. While this option is available in many state run colleges and universities, regional B.Ed.s are recognised institutes in India which admit students based on the cumulative score from an entrance exam (60%) as well as board (40%).
  5. B.S.(Research): Unlike B.Sc., this is 4 years undergraduate program and is offered by IISc Bangalore.
  6. B.Stat/B.Math: Indian Statistical Institute is a reputed institute in India which admit students based on performance in the entrance test. This is a fair chance for students who are really exceptional in Mathematics, but not in Physics or Chemistry. I have seen students failing to get admits to IIT despite scoring way above the cut-off score as they failed to secure the minimum cut-off in subjects like Chemistry.
  7. 2. Business Management: One can pursue Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Business Communication (BBC), Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) and Bachelor of Marketing and Communication degrees for a career in business management. B.Com (Hons) is a sought after undergraduate programme in many Delhi University colleges. Having Mathematics at 10+2 level is definitely an advantage. After graduation, one can pursue a career as a Charted Accountant or join an industry. One can also go for a higher degree like MBA or M.Com. or Certified Public Accounting (CPA).
  8. 3. Bachelor in Fashion Technology: NIFT and NID offer B.F.Tech. B.F.Tech is only meant for students with PCM background. After graduation, students can pursue a career in a reputed garment or apparel industry in various fields like supply chain management, operations etc.
  9. 4. Architecture:Arch./B.Plan. are 5-year programmes. Admission to NITs is based on the Paper-II of JEE (Mains). However, NATA is a national level entrance exam conducted for admission into undergraduate level programme in Architecture in other institutes barring NITs.
  10. 5. Defence: One can get into the Defence after qualifying the NDA exam. For Air Force and Naval Wings, Physics and Mathematics as core subjects in the 10+2 level are an essential requirement.
  11. Commercial Pilot: Commercial Pilot is a high paying job. The candidate must have cleared 10+2 Science stream schooling with Physics and Mathematics as the main subjects to get an admission into the aviation training institutes.
  12. Merchant Navy: B.Sc. in Nautical Science and B.Sc. in Marine Catering are some of the degrees required to join merchant navy. The admission to these courses is based on rank in IMU CET. The eligibility criterion demands students with Physics and Mathematics as core subjects in their Class XII or equivalent.
  13. Open Streams

The following career options don’t actually need PCM background as they are open to students of all streams with certain eligibility criteria.

  1. Legal Services: CLAT is an All India Level exam for admission into the coveted law schools of India. One can pursue LLB or BBA+LLB or B.Sc. +LLB (Integrated Law).
  2. Hotel Management: With the sprawling and ever growing tourism and hotel industry, this is not a bad option. There are several Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs) which offer B.Sc. in Hospitality and Hotel Administration, Diploma in Food and Beverage Service etc. Admission to these institutes is based on rank in NCHMCT JEE, a common entrance exam. The only requirement would be the English language as a core subject of study in Senior Secondary or equivalent.
  3. Bachelor of Design: NIFT, NID and several other institutes offer B.Des. undergraduate programmes with options in textile designing, jewellery designing, graphic design and visual communication etc.
  4. Performing Arts: One can get into Bachelor in Performing Arts (Music/Dance/Instrument) degree programs offered by colleges operating in affiliation with some universities if one has Diploma or prior experience with performing arts.
  5. 5. Journalism and Mass Communication: Bachelor in Journalism and Mass Media and other related degrees give an insight into the public relations, advertising strategies and account planning of various organisations.
  6. Aviation Industry: One can pursue a career as a stewardess or cabin crew after certain certificate training courses like Air Hostess Management, Aviation Management/Hospitality, Aviation Customer Service etc.
  7. Animation and Multimedia: Animation and Multimedia are the new vogue in the town. Visual Effects (VFX), Game Design, Sound Engineering and other post-production industries have been growing constantly in the last one decade. This is quite fascinating and one can also do freelancing.
  8. Film and Media: Film and Media offer broad range of options like Radio Jockey, Event Manager, acting, modelling etc. One can join an acting school or modelling agency or schools like National Institute of Event Management for a career of interest.

I have tried my best to list important choices. There are several diploma and certificate programs which one can pursue. Nevertheless, in India, it is quite common that students pursuing one-degree end up with something really radical. However, I believe having a plan is sometimes good. If you plan to get into civil services or banking, then joining a course which requires less effort so that you get ample time to prepare for these exams may be a wise decision. There are reservations in many government institutes for students who are exceptional in sports. So, they can pursue their education and passion simultaneously. The only thing I can insist is to follow your passion. As Steve Jobs said, “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” There is high chance that you end up with a satisfying career.

Keep reading and do voice your opinions and queries through comments.