Skills that you can develop in your Research Visit or Internships- Reflections on the Visit of Thonon Les Bains, France

International research visits, internships or exchange programs and collaboration across national boundaries bring your research efforts to the next level and to the broader public which helps in better promotion or marketing. Some students asked me the ways to maximize the overall output of there internships or research visits in there undergraduate, Masters even Ph.D. school.

  1. Organize social meetups- The possible idea of organizing and meeting people in your internships in both formal and informal ways is quite similar to the way you meet people in any house parties or sports events discussing the love of sports and food. Also, you can always similar meeting in various digital tools such as google hangouts where you can organize a conference to the meeting call to discuss your potential project or put any of your query in the related fields. I recently started working with a non-profit organization in Canada which that organizes the social meet up using google hangouts to discuss the progress of the team in different domains which is indeed productive. As you get to engage with students working in the areas of a client meeting, organizing conferences or big events, expanding the team through collaboration with potential members.
  2. Try to document your internship work or idea in words or video authentically while keeping its originality as intact as possible.  Keep your content simple and user-friendly just like you enjoy user-friendly mobile apps. The content in your online platforms should describe the real which comes only if you have strong interpersonal communication skills. It is indeed an essential tool to organize different sort of social hangouts, which will keep the communication flowing in between the members. So, I always put forward my ideas with the potential person/s who is interested and wants to listen to your ideas.  Small things that have made the macro change in your project which could be a beginning of social media services such as a blog or youtube channel, creating new networks in linkedin and so on which can lead to a social hangout between the like-minded group.  Organizing and executing your internship or research visit in this manner which develops multiple skills such as the ability to collaborate and work in a team with the multicultural group and adapting to changing tools.
  3. Being an enthusiast student, I always have the opportunity to work on my interpersonal communication skills while working in different teams through internships, research visits, and conferences. In January 2018, I stayed in an institute in Thonon Les Bains which is in the north of Europe and is usually freezing in the month of January where the temperature can drop up to -15 C. The lab was just next to the massive lake known as Lac Leman from the French border and Lake Geneva Given from the  Swiss border. You can easily reach to most captivating cities of Switzerland- Lausanne, and Geneva by boat or an hour drive. It is a bit expensive to travel in Switzerland when you are living with a Spanish student scholarship. However, I managed to go to many places in France and Switzerland. I met my supervisor there, who introduced me to the lab members and current research going on in the department. Over the next 2.5 months, I worked alongside different Ph.D. students and technicians sharing the same house which was opposite to the workplace and the incredible Lake Leman. These international swings will break down your shyness and other traits that create a barrier for you, and further enhancing your confidence level to add more positive contributions to the team. Getting hands-on experience in an International organization can help you integrate into multicultural groups support you to go a long way towards global research and management teams. Therefore, Working in a multicultural team is an honor where you get to share different culture, cuisine, and stories. The purpose of the visit was to conduct experiments with the environmental samples and learn bioinformatics flow.  Learning algorithms to treat and analyze the big datasets is the base of future academic and industrial projects. If you learn to manage and handle big datasets, then you have already opened many doors for yourself.  This opportunity was the stepping stone to expand my limited knowledge of algorithms and possible uses of machine learning in biology. My main task was to prepare all the environmental samples for DNA sequencing that had to be sent to another laboratory for further processing and generate raw (unprocessed) computerized DNA data.

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Thonon Les Bains

4. I had the perfect and new challenges which ultimately gave me the interesting output for my knowledge base. Other than that, there are few moments especially when you are traveling in a strange country where people speak a language that is completely strange to you. The first few days were challenging but with passing days and changing climate; I was able to connect and make good relationships with all the colleagues and researchers. These opportunities give you the chance to have detailed stories which build the missing pillars in your journey either academic or non-academic. All these networking and learning events in the student journey are the fundamental blueprint which should be followed religiously i.e., to enjoy the process and work on networking thoroughly.

Think about your student life as the huge pillar formed of conversation and meetings either personal or professional which creates the base of your future projects in terms of collaboration and recommendations.

These strategies come along with certain emotions based on your experiences and what you have learned from it. It will happen like a rollercoaster ride if you believe in your projects and trying to figure out the ways to execute in million possible ways. However, I believe that every experience will be uplifting and rewarding in the later stages.

Maybe you can make 100 networks in 2019, Maybe 50 or Maybe you can make 1  Right now. Send that email.

The digital presence of Graduate Students have increased Significantly

If you do not have a digital presence especially when you are trying to find or create an impact in your desired field, you are not taking your first steps. Increasing your digital presence is the foundation of your future career. The kind of information either personal or professional that you share on social media tends to create a notion in peoples mind which further creates your network.

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How can you increase your digital presence while you are pursuing your undergraduate or graduate studies? I googled and found out that the relative percentage of researchers, graduate students, and scientists sharing there both personal and work life have increased significantly. This is exciting as more and more researchers are promoting open science which indeed increases the chances of collaboration.

The thought-provoking catch is that it is possible in today`s digital world to use your blog as an open publication. A blog is a tool that can be made available to a huge number of students as a source of free knowledge to a large number of people who have simple access to the internet. Knowledge and experiencing new things is the basic human right. With the present technology, it is definitely possible to make all the knowledge or information available to a maximum number of people. This is of fundamental change that needs to happen in most student cases around the world. And the Internet can make this change at a lightning speed. There is no doubt about it.

I started my blog and writing guest post to expand my digital presence and improve my writing skills which I think took me in many finalist lists and ultimately winning International Scholarships. If you are writing it professionally and have given proper attention to the quality of content, I believe that it should have a positive impact on your proposition to the supervisor.

The blog is so powerful that you are allowed to share both positive and negative results without confirming it from any authority until and unless you have not signed a nondisclosure agreement. If you can not share the results, you are allowed to share your personal experience of conducting any particular task in your workplace just the way fitness or travel bloggers are doing.  But remember that if you want to use your blog in your application package while applying for any job, project or scholarship,  it should be up to date, authentic and original. Writing a blog will expose you to another set of challenges which will further enhance your new skills and knowledge about digital media. Identify the most influential blogger in your field and observe the important points of each of them or subscribe to there channel to get the beneficial content.  This can help you to channelize your ideas in a direction with an optimistic future and strategic plan.

But note that a blog should not be written with a temptation of receiving something in return otherwise, it will become an endless and not so fun run.  Use the blog as a source of supporting and providing free knowledge to the people who are not exposed to the information like you for one or the other reasons.

As an aspiring researcher or undergraduate student, blogging is one of the most productive things that you can do. This platform indeed has the potential to become a professional tool in the academic world. Open publications have been supported by many renowned researchers globally considering its social and economic benefits.

Open knowledge or blog gives you an opportunity to publish your observations without any restrictions including short notes or negative results. If more researchers come and support and accept this open science, it will be the most valuable tool for human development. And it allows all the independent researchers especially from low-income countries or students with fewer resources to publish their data and analysis. It is astounding.

How to Win Scholarships? My First Publication

Many doubts will raise with time when you will prepare the manuscript for the first publication. It is another big challenge that can come up in your undergraduate, Master, Ph.D. and in your lifetime of research. But if you are lucky enough to get some results or have prepared detailed secondary research manuscripts such as a review or a chapter which can be published in a good journal. Writing a manuscript will take time if you have no previous experience in writing specifically scientific writing.  To manage all this additional work along with your coursework is indeed challenging.

But scientific writing and content creation is a valuable asset in today`s market.

It is also crucial to understand a bit about Journals and online publishing platform which is already a billion dollar industry and are also categorized in several brands that are valued according to their impact factor ore reputation in the scientific society.

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Prepare your mind ready to receive high-level criticism from the editors because most probably, you will send your paper to a high-end journal. It is a good strategy because the comment and recommendations from the editors of high impact factor journal can help you to improvise your research article or chapter in many ways. There could be many reasons for the rejection which you will understand more with experience and time. But most common roadblocks in your publication could be the novelty of the project, poor writing skills, lack of supplementary data and so on.

I had to face specific rejections from journals with an impact factor of 5 or 6. After rejections from a few journals, I was fed up for a moment, but I kept working on improving the paper with my supervisor. Before I submitted the publication again, I shortlisted the journals along with subject-specific journals where my writing can contribute or demonstrate something relevant in the specific field of bioenergy and environment sustainability. Ultimately the manuscript was accepted in 2015 in a good enough journal for an undergraduate student. It was the result of 3 years of undergraduate research which involved working in the laboratory, learning from teammates, improving scientific writing, meeting people in conference and workshops. In this course of constant rejections and improvisation, you cultivate more strength and fluidity in your nature for more strong challenges.

Writing a scientific paper requires a proper understanding of paper structure and writing style. Therefore, to learn deeply about scientific writing and publication, I was regularly working with my supervisor throughout the paper. It was indeed an upgrade in my overall skills which helped me a long way in the journey.

At some point in your life, you will do specific important professional tasks which include writing and publications either academic or non-academic where you will be thanking your undergraduate research experience.

Scientific publication in your undergraduate or master program will undeniably strengthen your profile for global scholarships. On the other hand, Open science and science blogs have made things so easy and efficient that experts are sharing their precise tips and detailed strategies to write and publish your scientific paper.

Writing and Publishing will always remain as an essential pillar, that affects your overall scientific career extensively.

Can you use your blog as Publication??

Stay tuned for my next blog 😉

Cheers

How To Win Scholarships? Choosing, Documenting and Observing your Internship details.

Utilizing your time to observe the seniors students planning their experiments or workflow of the day will give you deep insights about real work life which is completely different from what you learn in your University.  This is the best strategy to learn and easily integrate into the laboratory or any new workplace. Different researchers have different abilities and attitude of working. I am sure that most of the people have read the books which share knowledge of achieving something in a short period and easily. The real fact is when you are trying to get something top-notch, you are trying to make things easy for others but not for yourself. And you will only enjoy this if you are passionate about the process of creating your project from scratch.

Another important thing that you can do to maximize the output from your internships is to document every detail of your internships in the form of pictures, words or videos. It can also be an initiation of your blog which is indeed an upside in today`s digital world. Having a professional and personal blog will increase your visibility in the market as compared to others who do not have a blog. It takes time for the people who are not sure about their likes to find the niche of their blogging.  As an intern, all this time that you have invested will take you to the right path and people.

Searching and choosing internships could be the hot topics among undergraduate. I was taking out the maximum amount of time to apply and search for the opportunities that will fall perfectly with my interests. Internships are the window where you can always count to get a different experience if you are willing to take a step in an unknown direction.

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I was asked a lot about how to choose or apply for internships. It is a situation where you must put a lot of time, thought and own strategy for your goals.  A perfect combination of different internships can increase chances of winning competitive scholarships and fellowships. Different internships and different places will always get you the new tasks and challenges that defines as a productive and diverse candidate for the position. This theme of choosing different internships can help you prepare a comprehensive motivation or cover letter which is the most critical part of your application.

Unfortunately, you might or might not have the luxury to choose for internships if you are studying in a country with fewer opportunities for student jobs. But where do you find and narrow down your research to the best option?

Referring to this situation, if you have a confusing picture about your goals or the organization that matches your career path, it will be better to segregate the choice of your internships in different sectors such as marketing, health, and fitness, communication or research. I also had a bit fuzzy picture of my goals, so I worked in different laboratories and volunteered in different Non-profit organizations.

So, it is essential to segregate and determine the percentage of your different interests so that you can plan your internships accordingly.

I will make things clearer by sharing my internship experiences.

During my second year, I had an official eight weeks summer internship in my course structure, which I think was the beginning of the most important phase in my undergraduate school. I was fortunate enough to strike the summer fellowship program by Indian Academy of Sciences to work in the top-notch laboratory of India. Ecstatic to be accepted in one of the best laboratories of India for which I moved to Mysore, Karnataka in May 2013. I did not have a detailed idea about my work responsibilities, but I knew that the team was working widely in lipid metabolism and the nutritional value of various food crops. The lab was working in different subprojects dealing with increasing the healthy oil content of seeds which are edible and can be used for multiple industrial and pharmaceutical purpose.

Again, I was assigned a Ph.D. student to teach me the work and lab rules. I invested quality time in my relationships with lab members or outside the lab. This way I was able to learn from different researchers and work on my communication and social behavior.

I learned a whole new set of things along with the working culture of Ph.D. and research students. Most students think that it is their scores that holds the most important in career either academics or non-academics. This could hold true for some students but not for all.

Your Research Experience section will generate more output and more questions that keep your moving and seeking. Remember that your time for internships is limited with the immense potential outcome; therefore, you should use this excellent chance with the right attention. You must be attentive to the things you don’t know either in the laboratory or administration.

Doing so, you will be able to eliminate the things or subjects that you don’t want to pursue further. Finally, try to go deeper and utilize digital tools to express your ideas in different ways. The easiest way to start is to create a blog of your interest which can be done at no cost.