University of Sydney – Sahil Dhingra

1466 Views, Posted on: July 16, 2016

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Sahil Dhingra is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing an M.Sc. in Chemistry.

Contrary to my anticipations, I’d say that securing a foreign internship wasn’t that hard after all. Well probably a horde of reasons may have given me this delusion but now all of that really doesn’t matter. Believe it or not, I was so chilled out about my entire internship scenario. Probably I had faith that I might be able to hit a jackpot through the PT Cell and well, they didn’t let my belief go in vain by giving me this awesome internship opportunity in the University of Sydney, Australia.

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Getting Here:

To be frank, I was in a dilemma whether to sign the IAF for Usyd (as we fondly call it!) or not .But the prospects of spending the summer in Australia – and ticking one thing off my bucket list – made me sign up without a second thought. The process was quite straightforward and hassle-free. Right at the start, we were asked to write essays on a few general questions based on past experiences (internships or academic), and what we expected to gain from this internship. Taking both the essays and our resumes into consideration, the Professor shortlisted 5 people for interviews from different departments, which were held around 2 weeks from the day the IAF opened with the results being declared within an hour of all the interviews. It was all in all a “CPI ka Khel” and I got this beautiful opportunity along with a colleague from IIT Delhi.

Overview of the University

Set in the heart of Sydney, the Camperdown/Darlington Campus and its many facilities and venues can be enjoyed by everyone in the community. It has been ranked 45th in the world in the 2015-16 QS World University Rankings. The University of Sydney offers the widest range of academic programs of all the Australian universities. Students have access to a world of possibilities through its international affiliations, industry and alumni mentoring programs and innovative partnerships. The university has a 50,000 member student body including over 10,000 international students from 145 countries. When it comes to extracurricular activities, students can choose from over 200 clubs and societies, competitive and social sporting teams and two fully equipped fitness centres. Being a sportsman, the thing that tantalized me the most were the sports facilities here in the university. The Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) offers programs and membership options to suit everyone. Wind down with a yoga class, go rock climbing or challenge yourself by swimming a few laps in the 50-metre indoor heated swimming pool. They even support the elite sportsmen and women in their academic and sporting pursuits through the Elite Athlete Program. As far as my experience is concerned, I’ve been learning Rugby under their summer school program which has been a wonderful experience till now except for some injuries 😛

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During the summers, elections were going on in the university for the USyd Union and the scenario was something completely different from that in our institute. Well, putting it in simple words, they were doing everything that is not allowed in our insti!

Work Profile and About the Project

Well, putting it in simple words, my work is that of a Data Analyst. To be more specific, I am using molecular simulations to study nanoparticle interactions and assembly, with relevance to making new nanostructured materials for harnessing solar energy. People here are very much concerned about every small detail and are very particular towards perfection. I have had immense freedom in terms of designing my internship as my professor is very “fair Dunkin” and keen on providing me with whatever I want to get from these seven weeks. Usually I worked for around 5-7 hours a day and had been provided with a lot of flexibility as far as my working conditions were concerned.

Sydney, The capital city of NSW

Sydney is a multiethnic city and people here are extremely good and polite. I’ve made a lot of new connections and friends for life here (although Tinder didn’t turn out to be of much help here). Sydney is quite an expensive city and cost of living is 5 times that in Mumbai. A single student living away from home will spend anywhere between $1600 and $2000 every month on accommodation, food, utilities and entertainment. Buying lunch on campus is a more expensive option, with most meals costing $10-15. As for the sightseeing, The Blue Mountains offer splendid destinations for weekends. I’ve travelled to Melbourne, Adelaide, Newcastle as well as to The Great Ocean Road which arguably offers one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. The Great Ocean Road is a 243 kilometre stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford, and is a must visit.

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Vivid Sydney, A light festival of 23 days!!
Vivid Sydney is a festival of light, music and ideas.
Vivid Light transforms Sydney into a wonderland of ‘light art’ sculptures, innovative light installations and grand-scale projections for all to enjoy – for free. It is a magical celebration of light-design excellence and the world’s largest outdoor ‘art-gallery’: a unique Vivid Sydney experience. Vivid Light engages lighting artists, designers and manufacturers from around Australia and the world to illuminate, interpret and transform Sydney’s urban spaces through their creative vision.
Vivid Music presents a cutting-edge contemporary music program.
From local and international acts performing at the iconic Sydney Opera House to other large venues and small bars, Vivid Sydney hosts a lively and eclectic range of live performances and groundbreaking musical collaborations.
At the heart of Vivid Music is Vivid LIVE. This takes place at the Sydney Opera House, Australia’s most famous building.

Extraordinary beaches!!

Sydney abounds in white sandy beaches, including world-famous attractions such as Bondi Beach. Bondi Beach has something for everyone: surf and sand, glitzy bars and cafes, a farmers market, boutique street stalls, scenic running tracks. Coogee beach connects to Bondi with a beautiful six-kilometre coastal walk.Riding a bike around Manly beach and the Northern Beaches is the perfect way to experience every corner of Sydney’s most beautiful coastal towns. Hire a bike or jump on your own and explore secluded coves, national parks, marine reserves, deserted beaches, lagoons, and breathtaking coastal views.The Coastal Studies Unit at the University of Sydney has counted 10,685 mainland beaches in Australia. They might have missed a few,but yeah there’s enough for everyone.

I have observed that the people here are extraordinarily simple and polite in general. The nightlife in Sydney is crazy (and the Aussie girls are beautiful!) Even though the population is just a whisker of what Mumbai has, there are people on the streets all through the night. The weather this time around is pleasantly cold. From concerts, food festivals, musicals, pubs, restaurants, I’m not missing home at all here. Two more days here and Bombay is gonna be a tough place to settle in now.

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