Cardiff University: Ishan Rakshit

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Anfield!

I am currently researching as an intern at Cardiff University. These have been ten weeks like no other I have spent so far. Few things to note about the University – It has better DC++ with more than 20 hubs running all the time. Torrents are allowed, and the download speed is lightning fast. It has got a sex ratio that ridicules IITB in all senses. Its Students Union is huge and gets Hoobastank for an exam‐end party in a small pub. There are no boundaries and the whole city is how large the campus is! The list goes on, but I’m short on time so let’s cut to the chase.

Getting there

The selection process was very simple and included a couple of SOP‐type questions and resume‐based selection.

Post December, I was bemused with the trifles of the ‘internship hunt’. A couple of my friends were already settled on their plans for the 2015 Summer and I was ogling on the oodles of internships that were coming up on the PT Cell portal every day! I had been quite selective for the major part of internship season owing to my predilection for something close to core aerospace engineering. Somewhere around February, I was awaiting the results of a couple of internship applications including that of Cardiff University. I had not troubled myself with internships outside the PT cell for some reason do not know – procrastination, they say. With the semester drawing to a close, there was more relief than celebration. Cardiff University had come with 6 different project topics and I was supposed to choose my top 3 preferences. Out of all the topics there was only one that was something I could really comprehend, since I had been working on a similar topic in my department as an SLP (Supervised Learning Project) in my third semester. The selection process was very simple and included a couple of SOP‐type questions and resume‐based selection. After getting selected, my professor had a talk with me separately about the project to gauge my expertise in the field.

My work essentially has a tinge of both experimental and analytical work on a high‐speed bearing rig apart from a lot of reading on topics related to bearings and acoustic emissions that I had to do in the first couple of weeks.

The Internship

I did not have any pre‐formed impressions about the internship except that it might entail a lot of reading and cramming myself up with knowledge I never would otherwise have had. But all in all, I was thrilled. Fast forward to May, I had landed at Heathrow on a cold Sunday evening and the fun had already begun. My stipend was just enough to cover all expenses of my accommodation, food and flights – surely with an assumption that I would cook my own food. Turns out, by now, I have indeed become a good cook, or that is something I believe in.

Residence-Family

With my housemates

Cardiff is not a huge city and every necessary place is within walking distance! For everything else, there are ample train and bus services available at very affordable prices, sometimes quite cheaper than equivalent routes in India. The houses are amazingly well‐maintained. Since the semester here ends on 15th of June, I had to change my residence midway during the internship period. The house where I spent the better part of my stay was at a ten minute walk from the college and had 7 rooms with a common lounge/kitchen. I had housemates from all over the world – Kazakhstan, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and the UK, and they have become family by now! My house is self‐catered and demands to cook my own food, except for lunch when it’s either my old faithful Subway or something rather exotic. In my office/lab, people are really very friendly. It’s an environment I could never have imagined. Everyone jokes around quite often in the lab and we often
have lunch together discussing stories from everyday life. Research is done at a really good level here. I work with a tribology research group and all facilities are state‐of‐the‐art. People are really concerned about every small detail and are very particular towards perfection. I have had immense freedom in terms of designing my internship as my guide and my professor were keen on providing me with whatever I wanted to get from these ten weeks. My work essentially has a tinge of both experimental and analytical work on a high‐speed bearing rig apart from a lot of reading on topics related to bearings and acoustic emissions that I had to do in the first couple of weeks.

I have observed that the people here are extraordinarily simple and polite in general.

Exploring the British Landscape

Cardiff is a multiethnic city and people here are amazingly good and polite. I’ve made friends for life here and a lot of new connections. No, unfortunately, Tinder did not help much. As for the sightseeing, Cardiff itself is beautiful with the neighbouring Cardiff Bay (Europe’s largest waterfront development), Bay Island and Barry Island offering splendid destinations for weekends. I’ve travelled to London, Bath, Stonehenge, Birmingham, Stoke‐on‐Trent, Scotland, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle almost covering all that this beautiful country has to offer.

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Stonehenge

I have observed that the people here are extraordinarily simple and polite in general. The nightlife in Cardiff is crazy and the British girls are beautiful! The city is based around the Cardiff University so there are students all around. Even though the population is just a whisker of what Mumbai has, there are people on the streets all throughout the night. The weather this time around is pleasantly cold. Their summer is our winter, yes. From concerts, food festivals, musicals, pubs, restaurants, streets of Cardiff to the Big Ben, Platform Nine and three quarters, 221B Baker Street, Abbey Road of London, castles, football and the English countryside ‐ I am living a dream and it’s far from ending now!

And no, I’m not missing home at all here. Two weeks more here, and Bombay is gonna be a tough place to settle in now.

Until then,

Signing off from 46, Miskin Street.

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