One thing which every IITGian starts dreaming about after getting into IIT is a foreign trip in 3rd year. With a strong record being maintained by pass out seniors, every junior have this strong belief “I will get an intern in Europe”
However in past few years the scenario has changed. Students no longer limit their mail spams only to europe. Australia, Brazil, South Africa have emerged as new favorites outside europe. Like many others, I too had this belief and I was one of the luckiest to have got an intern at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Though the time when I got my intern at IIT wasn’t a sweet time for me. I was already having a lot of problems due to lack of attendence. However keeping in mind that my BTech project is on Music Information Retrieval and I have got an intern in one of the best universities throughout the world in field of Speech and Music Technology, I decided to move ahead with the Internship. However, this was not the only reason for me to fly all the way to swiss. After a lot of effort and spamming, Sowmya too got an intern at Zurich, Swiss. Now how could we miss that.
For my juniors who keep bombarding me with several question about internship at EPFL. 1500 Swiss Franc per month (+ 500 swiss franc for airfare) is the standard scholarship given by EPFL to students from all IIT’s. (I knew a few from IITB were even getting more). For apartments and living, the best thing is to contact secretary of your professor, which can assist you to getting a cheap apartment. (PS: Do not forget to ask her to contact you before fixing an apartment. In my case the secretary booked a 1500 Swiss Franc per month apartment to be shared with another guy from IIT Bombay. While I can easily remember Himanshu Nazkani getting an apartment for just 450 Swiss Francs per month)
I was quite excited as I was flying out of india for the first time and that too swiss. Had to apply for a tatkal passport which one can easily get in 7 days after showing the internship offer letter to the passport office. I took the Alitalia flight from New Delhi, which was supposed to make a stop in Italy before arriving at Geneva. I was like “wow” all the way. The scenic beauty and the professionalism in foreigners (on duty at airport) was amazing. At this point I could recall me eating beef accidentally while moving from Milan to Geneva.
I reached my apartment after some hustle. My airbag wheels were broken and I had to drag my airbag (Full of rice,sweets,namkeen and what not) for about an hour before I could find my apartment. The apartment was a full suit and was way above expectations. I and Nitin (my roommate from IITB) decided not to change the apartment and continue with it inspite of heavy rent. One thing I would like to suggest is do not carry rice, cereals and other food items with you. You get them easily all around switzerland and at a cheap price. However it is good to carry some utensils if you can. Me and Nitin already decided upon who is going to get what utensils and that really saved us from starving for 3 months. With a cooker and frying pan, I could see the cook in me trying to explore, and believe me I was able to serve my roomy with some classy food for 3 months.
Next day I went to EPFL and met my guide. I was amazed to see the professionalism with which they used to work in the laboratory. My mentor used to code at such a pace, that I can’t even chat at that pace. For use it was like Orkut (becoming popular then), Gtalk, Yahoo Messengers full day. Throughout the week we used to plan for a trip and on weekend enjoy the trip. Swiss means you can’t sit back coding in the laboratory. I saw some of the most beautiful places and girls for 3 months. Lausanne, Zurich, Burkliplatz, Fribourg, Mt. Titlis, Pilatus – Luzern, Geneva, Ouchy, Raperswill, Uetliberg, Felsenegg are a few place which we visited.
As I just recall a bit more on this memorable trip, I will leave you with more than 200 captivating images from our trip of Mt. Titlis (10,000 feets above sea level)
Keep glued and do not forget to leave a comment.