Osaka University – Pushkar Saraf

Me is just a normal guy who thinks he wants to pursue a career as an academician. Me is also always worried about his social life and not having fun. So, Me decided to go abroad for a foreign university intern to kill two birds with one stone. Though Me made a mistake and got selected through PT cell for a power electronics profile at Textron, a core company. 

Luckily, I was introduced to Honda YES by a senior. Honda YES Award is organized by Honda Foundation, independent of PT cell and IIT Bombay which fortunately provided me with another option of applying for a fully-funded summer intern at a university in Japan.

Honda YES Scholarship:

YES Award stands for Young Engineer and Scientist award given by Honda Foundation to 14 students out of 6 IITs. The Honda foundation also helps you build a worldwide network with other scientists/engineers through various activities like the HONDA forum and get-together. Trust me, Honda Foundation does so much for you that its generosity could even guilt you into working hard for your future!

Selection takes place in 4 stages. For the first stage, the eligibility criteria is an 8+ SPI consistently. Other factors include resume submission and SOP. In “On the spot Essay”-stage 2 you have to write 1000 words on the theme of Eco-technology. The last two stages are interviews that are loosely based on your projects, general knowledge, and personality.

Honda YES Get-Together @ Honda Motegi in Tokyo

For more information on Honda YES program do feel free to ping me or check out this hyperlink: Honda YES Program.

Once I won the Honda YES award, I immediately started apping. Applying to professors in Japan becomes easy once you have a scholarship for 3 months and an endorsement letter from an organization like Honda attached along with your email. Apart from that, the Honda Foundation contacts the professors to make sure that he read the email and also to assure him of Honda’s support and our eligibility. Once you are accepted, they help you at every stage which includes document submission, Visa application, and renting a place. 

I finally got selected at Power Devices Lab (Funaki Labo), Osaka University. I am currently working on modelling of power devices specifically diodes and mosfets on IC-CAP to compare the accuracy of simulations with actual experimental data. Modelling of power devices is important so that it reduces time and costs for Rnd in the rapidly growing and highly volatile semiconductor industry.

During Intern:

Japan is very beautiful, clean and safe although pretty expensive. Japanese people are hardworking, disciplined and kind. Though, usually, they stay away from foreigners because of their inability to converse in English. The language barrier is a struggle but it’s worth it for 3 months.

I explored a lot of Japan during my stay here. Luckily, I ended up joining this adventure group which takes students out on trips at subsidized prices.

Trip to Yufudake in Beppo Prefecture with Ogura Adventure Group

Foreign Intern is a great experience. I learned a lot about being independent. I overcame my inhibition to speak English and to open up with foreigners.  The experience taught me a lot more than I can describe! Also, I have had more fun here than I have had in a long time.

Once you go abroad every Indian you meet feels like your family. I found one in Osaka.

Research Environment:

Lab environment in Japan is a bit different from other places. Here, everybody works on their own, even bachelor interns get an independent project instead of helping out a Ph.D. student. So, it is way more difficult as nobody understands your project and you have to debug it on your own. On the bright side, the learning curve is steep and you gain a lot of knowledge and confidence!

Usually, Japanese lab students can barely speak English. So, it does get a bit lonely. Also, it is difficult to communicate with post-grad students when you need help! Thus, do try to apply to a more open and international lab so that the main language for interaction is English.

Welcome Party @ Power Devices Lab

Ending Note:

Recently, I read an article online which stated that most Indians go abroad not because of the usual motives but because roaming around the world is a sign of higher social status/class in our country. It’s sad how everything usually comes down to social norms and competition in India.

Currently, I am trying to figure out my motives to come abroad for my summer internship. I hope my motives are pure just like I hope that I was intrinsically motivated to crack JEE and get into engineering and not extrinsically motivated.

My suggestion to any person out there reading this article would be to try to figure out your motives and your interests before the internship season arrives. Don’t bow down to peer pressure and, for example, just jump to non-core profiles because you couldn’t take time out to realize what you want. Once you are almost sure about one option like for example a university intern, just work towards that one goal.

Please don’t try to put your hand into everything there is. I think that’s the worst way in which you can go about trying to score an intern. It will mostly take you through a really bad ordeal of 50-60 interviews after which if you are lucky you will get selected for a profile which you don’t even remember because you blindly signed up for it.

2 years ago