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Interview and Selection procedure
It all started when I got to know that the Internship for Gulfstream has been listed on PT cell website again this year. I was relieved after hearing about this, owing to the fact that a lot of my batch mates had got awesome internships way before me. I decided to give it my best and was so committed to this opportunity that I stopped applying for any other internships that came up. This internship was a huge deal for the students of the Aerospace department as this is a very well renowned company and it was in the US. Five of us were shortlisted based on our resumes after which a telephonic interview decided how we would spend our summers.
I scavenged the internet for all I could find out about the company and what they offered. Talked to all the seniors I knew who had done the internship earlier. Spent days preparing for the questions the interviewer could possibly ask.
All in all, I did crack the interview along with a classmate and got offered a position at Gulfstream’s main plant in Savannah, Georgia. As soon as I saw the mail they sent I started jumping on the bed, as I had no one to talk to at 5 in the morning. I soon came to know that an alumnus of my department would also be participating in the program with us who was currently doing his masters in the US.
Thus began my month long journey through all the applications and paperwork for the company’s onboarding process. Soon followed my visa application and end semester exams leaving me no time to plan ahead for the summers. But I managed to squeeze in some time to go back home and learn how to cook. This move proved to be immensely helpful and helped us pull through the summers.
Journey to the US
The journey to the US did not go as expected. We were very excited to board the plane at Mumbai’s CSI Airport that would take us over land and sea and get us to the other side of the world. But far did I expect that we would land exactly where we took off from. The plane had to be brought back midway due to a medical emergency. Long story short, we got to stay in a 5 star hotel, got a hefty voucher from the airlines and boarded the exact same plane the next day.
After a 16 hour long journey, my first meal after landing in the US was donuts and coffee, it had to be. We soon reached the airport in Savannah and then the apartment where we spent most of the next day lying in bed.
The Main part
The first day at the office made me realise that there is much for me to learn. Getting a college degree is just the beginning to what awaits you in this industry. Unlike the other core interns that aerospace engineers in our institute get, this internship gives you first hand experience in the aviation industry. It gives you an idea of how such companies function and the effort the engineers put in to make these marvelous machines.
I got to work for the Electrical Completions team of the G650 aircraft at the Savannah Main plant. The starting few weeks swooped by with me just figuring out what the work was and how it needed to be done. Soon I was able to get a grip of all that was going on and was able to contribute to the process. My colleagues were polite, supportive and never hesitated to help me. The dedication that these engineers show towards their work is unheard of.
Life and Travel
The company was very generous and themselves provided accommodation for all the participating interns and co-ops nearby. Three of us pitched in and rented a car since the place we lived in had no public transport. Learning cooking proved to be really helpful the first few days. I also got to test my skills quite a few times with the fancy kitchen the apartment came with. There were a lot of restaurants and take out places near our apartment and we tried almost all of them. The food is not as spicy as we Indians prefer, so cooking ourselves at home sometimes made up for that.
My work schedule seemed hectic at first given that I had to work for 10 hours a day for four days in a row. But then I got three days off, which gave me ample time to rest, catch up with friends at home and explore the place. We did roam around quite a bit and made sure we visit all the nearby attractions. We were able to plan roadtrips to nearby cities like Atlanta and Orlando where we would spend the weekend. My day at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida is one I will brag about when I get back.
We got one really long break in July because of national holidays being near the weekend. I used this time to go to Chicago and meet my sister and relatives. Chicago is probably the largest city I’ve ever been to and I wish I had time to explore more parts of the city.
My third-year summer went much better than I ever imagined. Working for Gulfstream has been an enriching experience and I’m glad I was part of the program. I gained skills, made new friends and learnt a lot about American culture. Working on airplanes that took off right in front of me is an experience I will never forget. However, I do wish that my work pays off and I get to own one of the beautiful airplanes someday 😛