Yu Xiang, Paris, winter semester 2018/2019
The exchange to Paris is a life-long experience and I am so glad and honored to have this opportunity to exchange at Sorbonne University. The faculty members there are very helpful and flexible. Upon their agreement, I am free to choose almost any course taught in Paris and the credits got recognized. The mathematics department of Sorbonne University is very big and world-famous, the course is both (more) theoretical and practical, and if you want to focus on the more practical side, you can take some courses at École Polytechnique as well. The city is very international, there are conferences almost every week from top researchers all over the world. Besides the research labs from the big names of Facebook and Google, Paris also boasts a hub for tech startups. In sum, there are plenty of opportunities to receive a high quality education and to work for prestigious institutes.
Besides, Paris is famous for the arts, history, museums, fashion, food, movies and all sorts of culture stuff. A weekend of strolling before the painting of Monet or Manet could not be more beautiful.
Some advice for the future exchange students: Paris is expensive, apply early, ask help from the hosting university of student housing, plan early for your course work, take the free French course at the hosting institute.
After graduating with a bachelor degree in engineering from V. I. Vernadsky Federal University in Russia, I had a chance to live and work in France, Portugal, Hungary, UK, and Italy, spent few months in China studying at LSE Summer School. This truly amazing and unique route gave me the opportunity to discover myself while gaining an understanding of different cultures across the globe. Being in a new place by yourself can be overwhelming at times, and it truly helps to develop the ability to adapt to so many various situations.
Working as a research assistant at INSEAD business school (Fontainebleau, France) gave me genuinely global research experience, taught me to believe in intellectual freedom, to be open to other views; to learn through the exchange of ideas and experiences and to be ready to take risks.
Now I’m a master student in Scientific Computing at Heidelberg University and I’m so grateful for having the chance to work and study with incredible people from all over the world. Living and working abroad is an experience unlike any other!
Niccolò Rigi-Luperti, New Delhi, winter semester 2018/2019
In March 2019 I (guy on the left in the photograph) did a 1-month internship at the Jawaharlal-Nehru-University (JNU) at New Delhi, India. It was a Bio-Informatics Group studying protein structures via Machine Learning and my work revolved around the prediction of binding sites of proteins via a Neural Network. In the department were several groups working with machine learning and they gave talks to each other or invited speakers each week. Prof. Ahmad from my group also particularly cared that we learned to give good presentations, so as a training every day one member of our group had to present a topic, and Prof. Ahmad gave much feedback on how to improve.
The whole group was very open to me, I had many questions about India, and they told me their experiences with no hesitation. I am very thankful for this, and I can recommend anybody to ask questions even on little things like daily routines or public rules and rituals, more often than not you stumble over interesting details.
Some tips: Try to visit New Delhi in the Winter, ca. Oct-Mar if your schedule permits it. Summer there is very hot and can become unpleasant, as several students pointed out to me. Online E-Visa is processed very fast, only 2-4 days on average, but I still recommend to do this sufficiently in advance, to avoid hurry. European power supply sockets work fine, you won't need any extra adapter. Buy a metro card if you plan to visit the city, its cheap saves you much queue time. Carry your cash in as small units as possible, not all stores give change. Take long trousers also for summer, they are socially preferred. For Internet buy a mobile plan locally there, they are cheap and have good conditions. Buy visitor tickets online for touristic spots, saves you much queue time. For the first days: The Indian head gesture for 'yes' looks similar to the European for 'no', this can be confused if one is not aware. The difference is an additional wiggle with the head, this wiggle is your preferred criterion to spot a 'yes'.