Successful Interns share tips on “How to ace DAAD WISE Internship”
DAAD WISE is one of the most coveted Internship and provides 2-3 months internship opportunity at institutions of higher education and research institutes in Germany. We have interviewed two interns Shreya and Parakh about their experience as a DAAD WISE intern. Shreya did her internship at Carl Von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Northern Germany while Parakh had the chance to intern at RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
For all the basis details like eligibility, deadlines, read our blog “Crucial information on applying to DAAD WISE fully funded working Internship“. In the present blog we ask our interviewees about how one should plan on mailing the professors, planning for accommodation, and how to make the most of DAAD WISE Internship opportunity.
Steps involved in the DAAD WISE internship program
There are two major steps:
- Mailing German professors requesting for a project.
- Sending required documents to DAAD WISE Delhi to complete application procedure.
How should an applicant mail the professors and follow up?
This is the most crucial step in obtaining the internship.
- Content of the mail should precisely contain your research background, how it is linked to professor’s research area and how this internship is going to benefit you. Don’t miss to include the reasons why he/she should choose you.
- It’s good if you mention DAAD WISE scholarship in your mail, so money issues won’t hinder your chances of getting selected. For further reference attach you resume. Mention your availability dates or duration of your internship. Don’t mail them repeatedly and wait at least for 3-4 days.
- Remember your resume plays a vital role and so it should be refined and to the point. Adding summer research projects that you have done earlier, would benefit you certainly. The cover letter should reflect your research interest.
- It is important to know how to filter universities and professors. The best way to do it is, you should have some idea about your field of interest and your career plans for the future .Make a plan and prepare a list of professors whom you want to send a mail.
- For follow up mail after 3-4 days, send a polite reminder mail. Even after that if you don’t hear from professor, don’t assume anything and move on to next professor.
- Try not to mail many professors of same Department, especially when they don’t share same area of research. It will show how non-serious and desperate you are about getting a foreign internship. Also please avoid using CC and BCC option while mailing.
- Don’t mail Professors on weekends, they may never see it and try to use your institute’s mail to ensure your mail doesn’t end up in spam folder.
- Also Germany is 3-4 hrs behind IST, so try to communicate accordingly.
- Go through professor’s publications (if you are mentioning them in cover letter) and working area thoroughly because they can even take your interview before taking the final call..
- Follow up if the reply from professor is ambiguous, the formal replies like “your skills are excellent but not matching with our requirement” and “We need someone with sufficient knowledge of German language for this project etc.” show that your applications has been almost rejected. In this case seek clarification and then move on.
What plays the most important role in selection?
There area few things that play vital role in selection both by professors and also DAAD when they consider an application.
Generally, the factors that determine chances of success are:
- Academic Achievements
- Projects or internships previously done
- Research interest (great if you already have publications)
- Extra curricular activities
Shreya told us she had a CGPA of 9.21 and got selected in Second round after few positions were vacant from First round of DAAD WISE. So yes CGPA is important, also it gives you an edge over other applicants provided you have a resume good enough to get a host professor in any German university. Previous academic records (the higher secondary and senior secondary education) don’t matter a lot as long as you are fulfilling all eligibility criteria.
Parakh had a 9.32 CGPA and told us it certainly plays a big role in representing applicant’s academic profile .The minimum criteria is a CGPA of 8.5.
When it comes to acceptance by a host professor, for a low CGPA applicant, having worked on a research paper would really make an impression provided CGPA is not too low and for someone with high CGPA, it will simply add another star to his application. Recommendation from college professor also affects the application. Sometimes host professor asks for recommendation letter. There are instances when applicants with CGPA of 9+ got rejected by host professor because of not so good recommendations and a few applicants with CGPA of less than 9 making it to the final list.
When did you start mailing professors?
Shreya told us she dropped her first mail in August first week and was accepted by a host professor at the end of September . Since the last day to send completely filled form to DAAD Delhi is November 1, so it is safe to be done with your application by mid October. One can start mailing from July to be safe.
Another interviewee, Parakh, told us he mailed on a weekly basis starting from August and was accepted by the end of September by a host professor. So patience is the key!
Sources for finding professors? and how many professors did you mail?
- Germany is mostly known for its TU universities. So, start your search from the same. Other sources could be the university websites itself, seniors who study in Germany.
- Have basic idea in which area you want to pursue internship and search accordingly.
- Shreya told us she used Tu9.de and research scholar.de to find universities in Germany
- Also she mailed close to 50 professors !
Can an applicant make project proposal to the professor?
In most cases the professor decides the internship theme and we don’t really need to put any project proposal. We can work in professor’s ongoing work. But if you have any research project in mind, it’s always a good idea to discuss the possibilities with the professor.
Tips for completion of process after the acceptance by host professor?
- First relax because you have completed the most tedious part of your internship process!
- Next get all documents on time like recommendation letter, resume, No objection certificate and other documents mentioned by DAAD and send them without any delay. Also, send all forms which needs to be filled by your professor beforehand and don’t forget to mention the deadlines to your professor. Also don’t hesitate to communicate with your professor while filling any form.
- Prepare a checklist of all documents that need to be submitted and arrange for the ones that are missing in that list.
- You can always contact DAAD Delhi office or any DAAD Young ambassador in case you need assistance while filling form.
- .Keep in mind that 1 November of every year is standard deadline for applying DAAD WISE scholarship. so make sure your documents reach there at least 1-2 days prior to 1 November. Application for 2016 is here.
It is suggested you to go through the DAAD WISE form before filling because it is a long form and you may fill it wrong. Don’t panic if you fill any information wrong, you can fill it again, but it’s a good practice to fill the form in one go.
Details about how to find accommodation?
Shreya: My professor’s secretary helped me in finding accommodation. She contacted the landlady to ensure the facilities provided were good. I paid 200 euros per month. It was a fully furnished flat with kitchen facilities. I did not carry any utensils.I also asked her about the things i should carry with me.
Don’t worry about accommodation while applying. It becomes important only when you get selected.
Parakh: Accommodation the most difficult part after getting DAAD scholarship.There is no doubt that it’s extremely difficult to find accommodation for such a short period. but there are quite a few ways like you can take help of your professor, search over internet for unterimieter (the student dorms which you can get for 2-3 months as some students there also go on internships etc.!)..The last and always available option is paying guest house. Although it’s much costlier you have to go for it if you don’t have any other alternative.
Any preparation tips before leaving for Germany?
- Try to contact some senior who has already been to Germany and get all your doubts cleared. Attend DAAD webinars, they are meant to help you prepare for your trip to Germany
- Get your Visa, passport, acceptance letter by DAAD and German host and medical insurance.
- You will get Indian foods in Germany!, so your don’t need to carry extra weight of pulses, rice etc.
While in Germany, how was your work experience? How many hours per day did you work for internship?
Shreya: My work experience was something that I had never anticipated. I expected it to be an experimental project which later turned out to be a computational project, that too involving quantum chemistry. It was interesting. I was told by my Professor on Day one to give a presentation on last day. There was no mention of how much time i needed to work. As I said my project was totally computational, it required only 3-4 hrs of work and a few hours of study of the materials they gave me.
Parakh: It was a engaging work experience and although you should spend at least 40 hours a week according to German laws, it is up to you. Your professor or university will not count the work hours and it’s your responsibility to ensure you spend enough time on research.
Does DAAD pay of 650 euros(excluding allowances) sufficient?
Shreya: DAAD offered me stipend on daily basis (21.7€/day – including Saturday and Sunday), air fare of 525€-550€ and a compulsory health insurance. The pay turned out to be enough for me. My flat rent was 200 Euro and cycle rent 20 Euro. I was a vegetarian and carried all raw food stuff from India. Also the university where i interned is in Oldenburg, South Germany where living costs were cheap.
See more: Confessions of an Internship student
Your experience as an intern?
Shreya: As an intern it was an great learning experience. My project increased my result analyzing & interpretation skills and it helped me learn the concept of optimization in a broader sense. The two months in Germany gave me loads of memories that I can cherish my entire life, I got the opportunity to make new friends , interact with people of different culture and enjoyed both planned and unplanned trips. The whole experience not only boosted my confidence and increased my interpersonal skills but has also helped me develop my personality and broaden my horizons.
The Schengen visa we get allows us to visit 23 countries in Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Austria, Italy, Switzerland included). without any restrictions.,There are many tourist spots in Northern Germany too.
DAAD WISE has a limited number of scholarships and only a few students make it to the final cut. If you don’t get the DAAD scholarship, you can still try asking your host professor for funding. If that is not possible you can think about funding yourself and the costs involved.
There are many internships similar to DAAD WISE and you can use our resources at WeMakeScholars.com for finding internship opportunities.
You are welcome to share your own experiences as an intern with us. Use the comments section below.
#StaffPick: Scholarship opportunities in Germany