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.

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How to Win Scholarships? Focus on quality of communication and networking

When I say Quality, I refer this term with more clarity. Clear communication with your colleagues, family members or supervisors always leads to a better conclusion. And sometimes these clear communications are hard but necessary.

The communication and networking are indeed the most potent friend of yours which will only nourish with practice. Quality is to be respected, but it is entirely subjective in today`s world. The various components of communication tools allow us to create an emphasis if we make the correct use of them strategically.

My suggestion is straightforward “Quality of communication is important but subjective” therefore speed should be the focus while you are pursuing your Undergraduate or Masters. When we are using digital tools, it is the practice that will improve your art of communication in different social media platforms or other official tools such as Gmail or LinkedIn where you can connect with your future leaders or supervisors easily. Nowadays, the Internet and social media have given attention to each one of us.

Traditional institutes teach students communication in a structured manner which usually won’t synchronize with today’s world. Communication tools are quite flexible, and it can never be practiced when a person is tensed, restricted and is being marked upon his skills. Traditional communication teaching is safe to get a job when they are prepared to connect in alignment with the company vision and mission. When the time comes to relate all this with the current situation in undergraduate school, it is a bit complicated. One cannot depend on the traditional communication strategies or university as it will never teach you about networking or other essential tools required for the real world.

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If you are planning to launch an independent project, then the traditional communication strategies will not work as it does not bring in the personal sense of control or connect you to the target audience which is highly variable. It is neither adaptable to presently available digital platforms.

The present communication platforms demand the greater quantity, depth of the subject and personal sense of involvement. You will need to alter your strategies depending on the tools which may require less quantity but more quality. There is no standard book or practice which must be followed to communicate and make a network.  Communication is a two-way process which will develop automatically based on individual or group of people with whom you want to interact.

It will never become refined and perfect without practice as the market and consumers are constantly changing depending on the overall technology and environment. Understanding consumer behavior in one shot is not an easy task and to understand this process requires a greater quantity of content with depth.

Now, you have so many platforms and devices to form networks and connect with researchers all over the world. If you want to accomplish and win in either academic or non-academic scholarship, you need to understand the importance of both traditional and digital communication.

I learned to connect and partner with fellow students both in University and digital platforms. One of my friends, Tania who was quite popular in social and cultural clubs was aware of the marketing and business tools who introduced me to many young students in University who wanted to explore more in the area of scientific research. I would not have been connected with all these students otherwise. At that time, I was a bit struggling to get the correct idea of scientific writing or communication which is again not taught in the University. So, I used this opportunity of interacting with other students to keep my focus on writing by collaborating with students having different research interests. I had no intentions or goals about the outcome but to follow my steps uniformly to improve my scientific writing. Writing and editing many articles with other students allowed me to refine my work with more precision. The key for you is to be conscious of the resources that you can have or generate in your area.

Further, I explored that undergraduate students have formed the society to promote Undergraduate students work. They have established the journal which is run by undergraduate students for undergraduate students. So, I contacted the team of Journal of undergraduate research at Colorado State University that is managed by only undergraduate students. Working with the different cultural groups in digital platforms gives you more advanced insights from hundreds of new articles and operating principles.

If you are applying for Global Ph.D. scholarship, applications will be pouring from all the over the world which will be highly competitive. Therefore, the network and communication that you have developed in your undergraduate school while participating in internships, conferences, symposiums or publication time will help you to use those skills while competing for international scholarships.

 

How TO Win Scholarships? Maximize your networking in University years

Recent reports on Global employment University survey concluded that significant employers are giving a lower value to the degree classification on there CVs. Usually, students are actively involved in projects or extracurricular programs that align with there studies which enhance there working experience as compared to other competitors.

Most of the undergraduate students do not focus on a skill such as innovation, leadership, networking, and design which complements there overall profile in both academics and corporate careers. Continuous efforts in these areas will help you to raise your social and environmental consciousness. And most of the undergraduate students are aware that these skills are of utmost importance but does not mean that they are devoting the required time to develop these skills.

It is quite similar to the journey of the fit body which comes with strict nutrition, sleep and exercise patterns.

Your networking skills in undergraduate school can help you envision your plans and provide you all the critical resources and information. It requires extensive efforts in addition to your daily university routine.

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Start by interacting with like-minded colleagues in University either in social, sports, literature or cultural clubs, just like you are learning to use new software. Building your networking can lead you to your new project which is much like any fitness goals. The return on investment depends on your day to day activities which is the outcome of your practice and hard work.

While spending extra hours in cultivating sustainable networks, independent projects or decision will progress over time not overnight. You need to thoroughly enjoy the process of rejections and acceptance which are the main ingredients in any journey. The roots of your strong foundation depended on the diverse experiences and planned the execution of your University years. It will highlight your life with necessary lessons which are mostly taken from the failures. Further trying new ideas and documenting your research experience can raise many questions that require your seeking attitude. Without seeking mind, one can lose the chance to explore the hidden strengths and talent.

How to Win Scholarships? Attend Conferences 1

Conferences are one of the best platforms to represent and express your ideas to a diverse community. In my last post, I shared the importance of sharing your ideas within your small group, friends or community where you are regularly involved in certain activities as it builds your communication and networking skills significantly. Once you have learned to share your ideas, at a certain point during work or research in University, it is beneficial to present the data in a conference or seminar where you meet like-minded researchers and students with whom you can collaborate or learn different aspects of the project. And there are ample opportunities at national and international level for students to present their work either academic, industrial or non-academic. Participation in these multidisciplinary events improves your public speaking and networking skills. Today more than ever, industries and investors are attending these events mostly who are interested in young people vision with excellent communication skills. Communicating and expressing your ideas well will set you apart in every stage.

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I found one such International conference in Energy and Environment which was the next stepping stone towards in-depth research, improvising speaking and networking skills. In addition to that participating in events represents a good accomplishment and achievement in your CV.   My supervisor was enthusiastic about the conference and asked me to prepare the first draft of the paper.  I was keen to learn two new things; scientific writing and speaking in front of eminent scientists and researchers. Of course, more efforts will be required for this challenge, and at the end of the day, it ensures your satisfaction with research. But you will have to prepare your mind for all the reactions and recommendation that you will receive at the conference. Either positive or negative.

Many believe that undergraduate school is the end and expects everything to go smoothly within the constructed structure of the college. There is limited evidence stating that everything is happy to go lucky after undergraduate years. Only your response or reactions towards difficult situations define your career path.

It might be a little tricky to manage all these activities together which require routine and repetitive actions. It is your responsibility to take these repetitive actions consciously. When the actions are unconscious and uncreative, then the output of work downgrade slowly and ultimately die. It will become the same as the giving exams and completing assignments which is dull and boring after a small period. If you are considering a job or a review with a vision and finishing it with full conscious, it will yield into something productive. But if you are mugging or copying the assignment, then it won`t result in something meaningful.

Consider your project as a mission where every small act is a ritual. The project is productive and meaningful if one engages in the new learning consciously and wholeheartedly. It is wise to know that the failure rate of starting something independently is quite high and happen often. If you don`t believe this, then take any case study of successful people in any field.

I realized this when I had to prepare the manuscript for my conference presentation where I had no escape. The thought of escaping the project will take away the responsibility along with your progress. The student working in an independent project is not solely linked with personal development but also advanced social development.  This demonstrates a sense of responsibility and leadership that directs you towards a better path.

Later, while trying to accomplish the draft manuscript for the conference, I found myself struggling and losing patience. But after rewriting the draft many times and discussing it with my supervisor, an acceptable paper was prepared to be sent.

I was happy because it gave a sense of satisfaction as finally, my efforts were giving some results after one year. I was excited to present my experiments to the scientific community which could bring value to the science and enhances my personal experience of public speaking. The conference was being organized in Tiruvannamalai which have extreme cultural and religious significance in India.

Stay tuned for the next blog where I will share the detailed experience of my FIRST CONFERENCE 

 

How to Win Scholarships? Consistent Interaction with scientists, investors or leaders.

In my last blog, I shared the importance of networking in University and high school to build your diverse networks that have Huge impact in your profile to Win INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS.

Today, I am going to share one of the important networks that I made in my University time which has helped me in every step of the journey to winning International Scholarships.

Here is the link

https://talkwithnik.com/2019/05/09/how-to-win-scholarships-work-on-your-networking/

Continuing the Journey after the director of the department introduced me to one of the Young Scientist working in the area of Algae Biotechnology.

When I first met the scientist, I didn’t have any clear idea about what I am going to say. So, I explained to her my broad interests and shared the past research projects that I had done in High school. She said that her funding is for a specific project but, I will get to learn everything new. Getting a chance to be a part authentic laboratory is an excellent opportunity. I got introduced to various projects about industrial applications of algae which have now booming industry.  I was ecstatic. My supervisor introduced me to a Ph.D. student who was my instructor in the laboratory. It was just six months past of my 1st year of undergraduate school, and I have already landed an excellent place to work.

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Some of you might call it luck, but It was the constant communication with seniors, professors, and director of the department that led me to this lab. Reaching out all the possible options will increase your overall value and chances of being a part of something bigger than you, and as a result, you will receive far more diverse knowledge than other students. To extract the maximum juice from your university life, you need to acquire more non-cognitive skills in addition to cognitive skills.

The way you interact with all the team members in the laboratory is the way your learning ability and career curve will progress. Since the beginning, I had great relationships with all the members and Ph.D. student who was my guide in the laboratory. She gave me the related reading material to know about the become project in detail. Though I knew that reading hardcore scientific articles will be difficult at that time, but I continued the process to know the right way to develop my scientific reading and writing skills. It was my responsibility to take the personal initiatives by going through various online blogs and magazines which are the best source of interdisciplinary information in any subject which was indeed useful to know more about the renewable energy market and research. In the next few weeks, I started learning new techniques like to grow algae and make biofuels from them. Taking a course which is opposite to regular customs of the university such as exams and assignments will expose you to brilliant ideas and inspire you to think differently.

Ph.D. and other senior students are aware of their responsibilities and daily tasks.  It is an official program where faculty, department and other team members regularly interact to keep track of every aspect of an individual project. The things will be different for an undergraduate student but if the student makes the excellent use of the opportunity both in lab and bench can turn out to be the most fulfilling experience. Students who work in their undergraduate school either scientific or non-scientific by learning new workflows, tools, processing data and formulating further questions.

For much of your school and university life, you are trained to be a right part of the system which is essential for law and order of the society. But if you want to think beyond this single and defined strategy. One must adapt to the change with technology and market to attain a more diverse experience. Undergraduate school is the best time to know if you like the idea of research or if it meets the requirement of your career curve. Getting into the laboratory or even in regular contact with one supervisor working on a secondary research project gives you a broader idea of the scientific world. The working experience in a laboratory or field will teach you additional vital skills that can be incorporated easily in other domains of work such as time and project management. A biologist will experiment either in a laboratory or environment whereas a business student can research the specific market or clients.

One should adapt to use bold strategies in undergraduate school as it expands the profile in many ways which shows the potential of the student. Most of the students have assumed that securing good marks will make them achieve the fulfilling experience or dream project which is the tragic way. Instead, they should expand there horizon by learning from the experience of your supervisors or seniors. One way to do this is to communicate frequently with your supervisor and next immediate senior about your doubts and ideas through email, WhatsApp or any other medium which is acceptable by both parties. Have the presence of mind while communicating with your colleagues. What makes your undergraduate successful is not the efficient completion of monotonous college routine which million other students are doing around the world. But it is the diversity and richness of your experiences that make you unique.

Working with a collaborative mindset increases the efficiency of research in the workplace; therefore, sharing ideas with colleagues and supervisor will bring out the maximum output for the team. It is critical for personal and group success in science or any other venture as it increases both individual and group participation. Furthermore, with positive guidance from your supervisor and team members can strengthen your ideas. It is important to coordinate your ideas between two or more people to achieve the final purpose.

Next blog will be focused on Ideas and expressing your ideas without fear…

Stay tuned 😉

How to Win Scholarships? Work on your Networking

Working on your networks features a lot of aspects and the first thing that will pop up in your mind will be – How do we get started? To accomplish something by networking, you need to spend a good number of hours in the right direction.  Learning how to make effective networks in your college experience is the first crucial step to open the new doors of learning and professional progress.

In 2011, In the first year of my undergraduate school, I was interested in scientific research and creating an independent project in addition to the coursework. I had zero interest in the course-work, but I cannot escape it either.  So, I thought that getting a hand on laboratory experience will be the most effective way to open the new path of learning

I always had the motivation of working in a lab back in high school where you can see different life process happening live. This gave me the idea that learning and practicing science are two different things.

But you can at least invest:- 10 Hours/Month for Networking via Email, facebook groups, LinkedIn, Researchgate, conferences and so on.

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Fixing hours and permanent schedule works for some and does not work for some. Keep your time management flexible according to your goals and objectives. But it is important to define your short- term goals precisely. Investing extra hours of networking will indeed require some time management and schedule planning in advance. Most students underestimate or misunderstand the meaning and importance of networking.

With the formula of networking and driven energy in my mind, I started my search of the laboratory in my University by interacting with senior students and researchers. There were hardly any other students either master or undergraduate who was participating as a volunteer researcher. But my experience in high school research projects had put enough enthusiasm to take immediate actions to enhance my communication and learning abilities. The networking has to begin with certain common direction and which could also fit within the framework of your college lifestyle.

I adopted a very simple strategy.

I approached many researchers with a rough project idea of using “Essential oils as Herbicides”. But I didn`t get any positive response for the next six months from anyone. I was not aware of the mistakes I was making at that time. I then went to known seniors for suggestions or if they have worked in any laboratory. And I also for opportunities in other departments as well. Spending time to find useful connections around the department accidentally introduced me to the Director of Parasitology department who happily attended me who was quite an exciting person. He was about to retire now, but in over an hour he gave me a lot of useful information. He also shared the story of her granddaughter who was pursuing her graduate school somewhere in the United States of America. He said and focused on a point that the relationship between supervisor and student is the drive change for all the ideas. It was a critical conversation for me as it made me realized the importance of your relationship with colleagues and supervisor in every step. Communicating with different researchers enrich your experiences and add more strength to your undergraduate school other than exams and assignments.

Moving on

I kept reaching different researchers in my department which has a maximum number of funded projects at that time.  Few gave me the contact details of other seniors who have worked in a laboratory as a volunteer, and another suggested me to contact the director of the department.

With all the hopes, I went straight to the director office and explained my situation in the reception and fortunately, I got the meeting with the director at the same time. I presented him as precise and clear I could tell as per my understanding, and he was completely attentive to what I was saying. I requested him that I want to work in a laboratory. And without wasting a minute,  he connected me with one of the scientists who had recently received funding from the Department of science and technology to work in the project of algae biorefinery to produce biofuels.

Do you want to know what happens next? Stay tuned 😉