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Summer 2019

Summer Diaries: DAAD

July 25, 2019
- Tanya Ratra

In this article, I have tried to summarise my internship experience in short and mainly focused on the “making it there” section. For all those who wish to score a research internship, I hope this article gives you a good starting point.

Making It There

To be honest I was not trying to get a foreign research internship as I had done one in my sophomore year. I wished to do a foreign industrial intern in an ideal case as in a foreign internship, apart from learning technical skills you also hone your interpersonal skills and learn to see things from a different perspective. I was only applying for research internship programs as a back-up. However, not finding something suitable in industries landed me up in this internship.

I had applied to various programmes like DAAD, MITACS, SN BOSE, NTU-India Connect, ANU-FRT and 2-3 more, I guess :p. I will be writing another article soon for the applying procedure and making a suitable SOP, However, I will try to cover all the major points for applying to DAAD here.

So, In DAAD-WISE program you first need to have an invitation letter from any german professor before applying to the program. Hence you need to start with emailing the professor. I searched for the QS ranking of the universities in Germany and then searched for profiles of professor in catalysis as I had prior experience in the same. For students who don’t have prior research experience, I would still encourage you all to apply for different programs as I didn’t have any research project in my sophomore year but still made it to the University of Tokyo Research Internship Program. The only thing that is required is a proper presentation. You need to present yourself as a dedicated and sincere student who is interested in the topic the prof is pursuing.

Coming back to DAAD, in the mailing procedure, I had sent 10 emails in top 2-3 universities of Germany. I got an acceptance from Humboldt University and TU Berlin and I chose the former as I liked the project more. Also, I was lucky enough to get a reply this early. Don’t hesitate to write more emails if you are not getting a reply. The trick is to write more personalised emails, just don’t copy-paste the same mail for every professor. I generally use to write 3 paragraphs in a mail and dedicate one to the work of the professor and the rest two remained the same in every mail. Write the email in such a way that the professor gets to know that you have read his papers and are truly interested in his work. Further, follow-ups play a very important role. I got both the acceptance mails on follow-ups, therefore schedule them wisely.

Once you have the invitation letter you require one recommendation letter and an SOP for applying. In DAAD-WISE program, C.G.P.A also plays an important role. Again, to be brutally honest, you require something above 9.3 or so to get selected. However, other programmes don’t look at the grade-point that much and I too believe that C.G.P.A is not the right criteria to judge someone’s research calibre.

Work and the Place


My work here at the Lab is to develop a photocatalyst for CO2 reduction. The lab timings are chill; 9-5, five days a week. You will be asked to leave the lab by five because being an undergrad you are not allowed in the lab alone. Hence you have enough time to roam around and explore the city. As every foreign internship, another common perk is travelling. Further, in Europe, inter-country travel is cheaper than intercity travel. Consequently, you can travel 2-3 different countries during the weekend :p. Besides, talking specifically about Berlin, It is well known for its nightlife. So if you are a party person like me you won’t even know where your weekends passed. So, I would recommend DAAD-WISE for students who want to have a taste of research or for those who love exploring new places and cultures. The difference I felt in the research culture in Germany was that I was not just doing experimental things but was also developing scientific reasoning to improvise my project.

Summing Up

On the whole, I would say I absolutely enjoyed my stay in Germany; working in lab, travelling and obviously the weekend parties!! One last thing that I want to say is related to the on-campus internship period, Everyone has some expectations from themselves and what they want to do. I just want to advice all the juniors from my experience that, please don’t panic or be disheartened if things don’t go as you would want them to. Just be patient and do your best and trust me, hard-work does pay at the end. I hope you all have a lovely experience in getting your coveted internship!!