This week, MasterAbroad Student Focus Sheffield hears from Abhinav Paul Kongari, currently studying mechanical engineering at the University of Sheffield, who offers Indian students in UK tips on integrating in a new country.
Student Focus Sheffield – Abhinav Paul Kongari
“In my school back home, I was on the student council and was president of a few committees, I met a lot of people. But it takes time to settle in to a new country when moving for study. It’s a new place, it’s new people, it’s new faces, it’s a new language – everything is new. It’s a bit daunting at the beginning, but you have to remember to take the initiative. As soon as you start being proactive, you start getting comfortable and meeting people.
“There are things like the Global Engineering Challenge at Sheffield, which is a first-year project based on a real-life project, where you work from nine to five with other engineering students. I worked on a project where I made an anti-poaching system for elephants in Cameroon. I worked with aerospace engineers, material science engineers and computer science engineers, who I’d never even met before. We discussed ideas and then came up with a plan and we won an award for it.
During any study abroad, practical education aides integration
“This initiative means you become comfortable in a real-life environment, because once you graduate you’re not just going to have mechanical engineers around you. You’re going to have engineers from all sorts of fields and all sorts of industries. It encourages team working and communication skills.
“The same thing happens in your second year, but this time you have to set up your own company. Within a week you have to do the financial analysis, you have to set up the design, make a prototype and pitch the idea. The best thing about it is the people you present to are usually managing directors or CEOs of some huge company, and they give reviews on whatever you’ve done. So, any point in your life when you start a company, you have this kind of experience to call upon.
“Getting a job when you graduate is the entire point of the University of Sheffield. It was set up by industrial people in 1895, who wanted their children to work in industry. The main point was: you study, you graduate, and you get a job – and isn’t that what we all want at the end of our degrees? I know people tend to go into research a lot, but then there are other people who are not made for research. They are made for a real life, practical work environment in manufacturing and production and that’s what Sheffield prepares you for. It gives you that experience from the start, so you can confidently apply for jobs when you graduate.”