Mail from … Braunschweig Dr. Aditya Thakur about his impressions and experiences as an international researcher
This is what I am doing in Braunschweig:
I have joined the Institute of Space Systems as a Junior Research Group Leader. My research team focuses on investigating and formulating technologies that enable ‘manufacturing in space’.
How long will you be staying in Braunschweig?
I will be here for a total of 4 years.
That’s why I decided to stay at TU Braunschweig:
TU Braunschweig has a cutting-edge research infrastructure. Moreover, the university has a very practical structure. For instance, Aerospace-related institutes are clustered around Luftfahrt Bundesamt (LBA) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) are located close to the airport. This implies that the university is well spread out, but with metaphorical and physical close-ties with pertinent industries, organizations and facilities.
What would you like to do after your stay and can you imagine staying in Braunschweig?
I am currently at an early stage of my research career. Braunschweig’s strategic location and especially TU Braunschweig’s reputation and network has proven to be conducive in establishing my research. If the opportunity presents itself, I would be delighted to continue staying and growing in Braunschweig.
Living in Braunschweig
What is the difference between studying or researching in Germany and in your home country?
Although I am originally from India, I have done most of my formal education and consequently my research in the UK and the US. Drawing parallels, I have noticed that the research culture is much more open here in Germany. This encourages exchange of ideas and interdisciplinary collaborations. Meanwhile, courses are much better structured in the U.K. and the U.S.A.
What is the difference between everyday life in Germany and in your home country?
Once again, compared to the countries that I have spent most time in, security, healthcare and safety (personal and financial) is notably better in Germany. On the other hand, the UK and the US enjoy a much more relaxed bureaucratic system, better internet infrastructure, better e-commerce and customer service.
That’s what I learned here in the first three days:
I figured out that I could ‘survive’ in Germany without speaking German, but in order to ‘sustain, live and grow’ I must learn the language. I suppose it has been a bit trickier than usual to socialize and converse with the locals due to COVID restrictions, but it has been a fun experience thus far, and I am confident that the situation will only improve hereon.
The biggest challenge during my stay so far has been …
The cyclic and often confusing bureaucratic regulations have been quite challenging to navigate through. Although, the assistance from the International House, especially the support from Ms. Annika Ewe was godsent! The advice and guidance that I received, not just concerning professional requirements, but also on the personal front, were extremely helpful. It would’ve been really difficult without this help.
What I will take home with me from here:
I think there is a lot to learn from German culture and work ethic. The lessons that I continue to learn living and working in Germany shall be treasured by me throughout my life.
Good to know
This is my tip for other international students or academics who are planning a stay abroad in Germany or are currently doing so:
Don’t be afraid or shy to ask for assistance whenever in need. Tricky situations are inevitable, but people (even strangers) are usually very happy to help.
In my opinion, this is something that you should definitely try out in Braunschweig/Germany:
As an automobile enthusiast, driving on Autobahn.
This is something I would like to add:
I think that it is essential, as a student, as an academic, as an entrepreneur, or as an employee to have a good work-life balance. Therefore, it is important for me to add that TU Braunschweig has made it possible to find this balance, even in the midst of a pandemic.
This is how the pandemic affects my stay:
The Pandemic has impeded professional networking opportunities. There have been attempts to minimize this impact via online conferences, meet-ups and workshops. Although, their efficacy is debatable.
Despite the pandemic, this was my favourite way to pass the time:
There are plenty of open urban green spaces and waterbodies speckled across Braunschweig. They’ve been my absolute favorite to explore amidst pandemic regulations.