Economic Theories That An Indian Engineering Student must know

I am quite aware of the middle-class mindset prevalent in the Indian society. There are often various situations like university admissions or further hiring for a job in placements where you can relate to these theories. And trust me, these fascinating theories actually are glaringly obvious and so common.

  1. Theory of Relative Deprivation:
  2. Sunk Cost Effect: Have you ever been in a situation where you spend time although you don’t like doing the things because you have already paid for it? I guess many of us must have been through this situation. This happened with me when I booked a ticket for the movie ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.’ Well, this is called Sunk Cost Effect.
  3. Dilbert’s Salary Theorem:
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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 https://www.wemakescholars.com/blog/top-20-foreign-internships-for-indian-students/ .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.

 

Essential Documents for a summer internship in France

MHRD, Government of India has now made it mandatory to pursue at least 3 internships for receiving a degree. An internship not only makes you industry ready or gives you the requisite experience to thrive in your career. I had an opportunity to undergo a research experience at Biomechanics and Bioengineering Lab, CNRS at Compiegne, France at the end of my junior undergraduate.

The French education system, unlike the British or US education system, is a bit complicated. Language may be a barrier when it comes to finding a lab. However, I have already discussed in my previous article to find a host lab for research in France. Getting funds is a major concern when it comes to international research internships. There are several programmes by the governments like SN Bose, Khorana, DAAD or Charpak Research Internship Programs that sponsor your visit to a lab. However, not everyone is lucky to get through this process. But that doesn’t mean it is the end to your destination. The labour in France guarantees you a monthly salary up to 550 Euros if your period of research exceeds 2 months. I am one of those who didn’t get through DAAD or MITACS, but decided to search for labs in countries with such labour laws. Trust me at 546 Euros/month for a period of 86 days of research internship, it covered thoroughly my airfare, VISA and stay. If you are lucky enough to get a cheap furnished housing, then it may cover your expenses on food as well. However, one must start the entire process very early.

  1. Letter of Acceptance: This is very important and it should clearly mention your guides, duration of the internship, the stipend and probably the topic of research.
  2. Convention de Stage: This is the detailed contract which clarifies the minimum number of hours of work, the agreement between the host laboratory, the student and the home institute of the student. This is a must required document for students who are recipients of ‘Charpak Scholarship’ to get the VISA. However, ‘Letter of Acceptance’ is enough to get a VISA if you are not lucky enough with the Charpak Research Internship Program. Moreover, some labs require you to send the documents by post as hard copy, while some labs are fine with sending them scanned copies by e-mail. One must ask them at least 2 months before the start of the internship. The entire process takes at least one month or may be longer. This is also essential to get the badge to access facilities of the lab after you reach in France.
  3. Housing: One can find the accommodation in CROUS. However, it calls for a security. One can apply to Cle asking the state to be a guaranteer. Sometimes, the professors are kind enough to act as a guarantee. As I browsed the accommodation options, I found that the CROUS student residence was priced at 249.00 Euros/month for a single bedroom (chambre) of 9 square metre and attached toilet facilities. However, the kitchen was shared and had no culinary sets. So, I decided to go with the privately shared flats in apartments. The rent was 205.00 Euros and the maximum amount for the services was 62.00 Euros/month. However, it was fully furnished with facilities for washing machine, utensils, coffee machine, induction cooker and microwave. Cooking can save some cents and this widens your budget to explore France and neighbouring countries. One can look for Lokaviz website, or websites of  the host university. They have international student counsellor to help with housing. Proof of accommodation is essential to obtain VISA.
  4. Bank Account: Some labs require to open a French Bank Acccount to transfer the stipend while some labs are comfortable transferring amounts directly to your Indian Bank account through SWIFT code. Look out for collaborations between the banks and universities. I got 25 Euros as starting balance and a monthly deduction of 0.20 Euros on opening a bank account with ‘Societe Generale’. They issued me a ‘Carte Blueue’. It was a VISA JAZZ card, which can act as both credit and debit card and also it has additional functionalities like automatic toll fee payments, although it is not a concern with you.
  5. Mobile Number: It will be my humble request not to take Matrix Sim Cards. It didn’t work for me and had connectivity issues. However, the most important reason is the plans are expensive and you can always find much cheaper plans. I got ‘Orange’ SIM card. However, it was expensive at the sim cost 10.00 Euros/month and the call rates were unlimited local calls at 10.00 Euros/month and 3 GB data plans for 10 Euros/month. However, I realised later that one can get cheaper plans with SFR or Bouygues Telecom or some local telecom companies. As far as my knowledge goes, Bouygues Telecom can cost half as much as Orange and it provides international unlimited calls to some countries, although I am not sure about India.
  6. Clothes: South France is warmer throughout the year, but North France can be cold in May. June and July are hotter months with mercury touching over 25°C on some days. The days are longer than in most parts of India with daylight ranging from 16 to 17 hours during summer. However, the nights are colder with the temperature dropping down to below 10°C. I have travelled in regions around Paris and Lille and the temperature can reach below 5°C during the night in summer. So, if your host lab is in Northern France, do carry one light blanket, one jacket and rest clothes of your choice. Please don’t stuff with too many winter garments like me because most part of the day has sunshine.
  7. Food: Stuff yourself with Indian snacks and food. You will find mostly packaged food here. Having a good culinary skill can be a delightful experience for you. However, France is famous for its cuisines. One can find meals (repas) in the university canteens which range from 2.60 Euros to 3.25 Euros. Do look out for free coupons against your BUTC and CROUS number. One can find these numbers on one’s badge given by the lab.
  8. FOREX Card and International Debit Cards: I would suggest to go with Forex Cards as you don’t have to bother about the continuously varying exchange rates. Further, you can reload them at any time you want. I carried a Forex Card by Thomas Cook and I got really decent exchange rate of 70.8 rupees=1 Euro. This was just 0.70 rupees more than the market value.
  9. Money Transfer to India: Transferwise is probably the best money transfer option to India from your French Bank Account. The exchange rates are very competitive and they provide transfer at the current exchange rates. Further, you can avail transfers without paying any extra cost.
  10. Money Transfer from India: If you have a Forex Card or International Debit Card, then you don’t have to worry much. International Debit Card is an hassle-free option. However, transfer to Forex Card Account may need a person in India to visit the nearest Forex Card issuing agency. I didn’t go with PayPal as it had higher transaction costs. If you are carrying cash and none of the above two cards, do carry extra cash as the transfer from Indian Bank Acccount to Foreign Bank Account may take some time. Transactions using cards are usually faster.

I have shared about the transportation in France and effective way to travel in France and neighbouring countries during the weekends.

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