After working for two years in the growing software industry in India, I decided to do a Masters. Not wanting to go to the US where everyone flocks to, Europe seemed to be a good option. The idea of knowing and living a different, rich culture allured me. I came to know from my local campus France office that Telecom ParisTech, one of the best Telecom schools is inviting students to study in France. Study? France? This sounded great already! There were several French enterprises that were offering scholarships to students from India. I bagged one from Orange /Ministère des affaires étrangères et européennes.
I chose to study the Security track that took place at EURECOM in Sophia Antipolis. The first impression as I walked out of the airport was the beauty of the South that is acclaimed the world over! Sophia is known for its advances in the research industry in Europe. With major world leaders having their R&D labs in Sophia, it turned out to be the right choice for potential future growth.
Life during study involved large amounts of practical applications of theories we learnt in class. Excellent professors, who loved to teach curious students, an amazing administrative staff that made us feel at home for all the help with formalities, and an outstanding batch of classmates from all over the world helped us all gain an important insight in an international learning atmosphere.
Amongst us students, exchanges of bits of information over lunches or dinners or coffee about our lives in our own countries helped us to know a lot about cultures elsewhere that you cannot find in books easily. French, Italians, Africans, Colombians, Chinese, Germans, Serbians, Tunisians – so many more cultures and so much to learn!
French culture and the language have impressed me and I feel honored to have been spending the past year and a half in France. One of the things that first came as a culture shock was the polite habit of saying ‘bonjour’ to almost everyone you meet! It was a bit awkward at first, but we got used to it soon. Now, Provençal food, Bordeaux wine, Camembert cheese – all have been accepted as an integral part of my life.
My stage at France Telecom helped me gain an important understanding of how big French organizations work. It has been an incredible experience, much different from how big organizations in India work. While interning, I had the opportunity to work with several teams located in Romania, France and India and I have been challenged and enjoyed working with the diversity.
Telecom ParisTech has helped me gain not only knowledge that will help my growth as a telecom engineer, but also given me the opportunity to grow as a human, given the rich multicultural environment and the vast French culture it holds and the enormous mix of values coming from all parts of the world. In one world this experience has been, I would say, Incroyable!