Student Speak – 2

For Mechanical Engineering, Germany is the best place to be.

»INTERVIEW WITH SAGAR GAJJALA, A CBS INTAKE OF 2006 FROM INDIA«

Interviewer: You have finished the Nalanda  Junior College in Hyderabad, India last year. How did you hear about the International Department (Carl Benz School)?

Sagar: With friends I was searching the Internet for an university that offers the possibility to attain an engineering degree. This is how I came across a comprehensive review of the University of Karlsruhe and the International Department. The latter provides programs that are designed specifically for English-speaking students from abroad. I was highly impressed by the achievements of the students in general and that Carl Benz, who invented the automobile, studied at the university.

Interviewer: Why was the ID your first choice?

Sagar: For mechanical engineering, Germany is the best place to be. The International Department entertains close links with the technical industry. As a consequence, the ID offers a very good combination of practical and theoretical knowledge.

Interviewer: You chose an university in a foreign country. Do you have any special interest in the German language and culture?

Sagar: I was attracted to study in a foreign country, because I wanted to learn to be responsible for myself. In my home country, my family would have taken care of everything, and I would have gained less independency. I completed A-level studies in German at my High School College in India, but nevertheless it was a huge challenge when I first arrived here last year and could not understand much. It is now part of our weekly schedule to take German language courses twice a week. I find the classes very useful, but the grammar is rather difficult. When I go shopping, I still feel more confident with speaking English, but I think this will change in the long run. I did not know much about the German culture before coming here. However, my father and brother-in-law visited Germany before and they felt very much attracted to it. They both admire Germany for its good organization and suggested that it would be the ideal place in view of my studies.

Interviewer: When have you first developed an interest in mechanical issues?

Sagar: As a child, I was fascinated by cars. I used to open, fix and repair them. Later in life, I frequently visited automobile workshops with my father. During my high school time, I often met up with my Indian mates to do motorbike racing on the roads.

Interviewer: You live in the ID’s student accommodation. With how many students do you share your apartment, and from which countries? 

Sagar: I live in a single room in the ID, but I share the kitchen with 4 other students from South Africa, Germany, India and Japan.

Interviewer: What are your experiences of living together?

Sagar: You learn a lot for life in general when you live with people from different cultures. It is fun and it is interesting to discover different views and opinions. From time to time, we cook together and I have found out that German food is much less spicy than Indian food.

Interviewer: What is your opinion on the standard of your classes?

Sagar: The standard of the classes is very high and challenging. There is more research and practical work involved compared to Indian studies. The lecturers are helpful and take time to explain given issues during and after the course. They all have excellent English language skills.

Interviewer: Is there a lot of studying involved outside your classes?

Sagar: I think on average, I study two hours per day. We have to submit regular assignments in Mathematics and Engineering Mechanics which are marked by our lecturers. For the other subjects like Material Science and Chemistry we get homework, but no marks. We show our work to the tutors and in case of any problems they are available to help us.

Interviewer: What do you do in your spare time?

Sagar: I hold a membership for a private gym where I regularly do weight training. In the summer I play football and basketball with my classmates. I spend a lot of time chatting on the Internet, because I do not want to lose touch with my Indian friends.

Interviewer: Have you already made plans regarding your internship?

Sagar: No, I have not made any plans yet. The internship will start in September. It would be my dream to do an internship in an automobile company like Porsche or Daimler Chrysler. Ferrari, of course, would not be bad either.

Interviewer: What were your expectations before you arrived, and has the ID lived up to your expectations?

Sagar: One of my expectations was to meet students from all over the world, and now I am studying with an international group of people from 10 different countries. I was further- more attracted to the high standard of research at the University of Karls- ruhe. During the pre-semester we visited some of the institutes of the university where we were given short introductions into current research topics. This was a highly impressive experience and I remember especially the creation of a scaled-down model of a real car which was remote controlled. Overall I am really happy to have come here, I have no regrets whatsoever.

Interviewer: What are your impressions of Karlsruhe?

Sagar: It is a beautiful, well-planned city. The people are friendly and helpful and most of them speak English.

Interviewer: Do you have any improvements to suggest to the ID?

Sagar: It would be great if the ID could offer more scholarships and therefore create more opportunities for people to prove their talents. Personally, I am looking for a scholarship, too. It is not easy if you have to pay for all the expenses by yourself, although I know that the student fees at the Internati- onal Department are very affordable compared to other universities. But especially in India, there is a high potential of intelligent people who cannot afford to study abroad. The Indiwan government only reduces university fees for very good students who study in India. Unfortunately, they do not give any loans or financial support for studying at a foreign university.

Interviewer: What are you focusing on during the next few months?

Sagar: My exams are starting in February; this is why I am working very hard at the moment. My aim is to receive very good results. And then I am really looking forward to seeing my family, because I miss them very much. In India my father, mother, sister, her husband and their daughter – we all live in one house. I am happy to spend some time with them and my friends, so that I can return to the ID full of fresh energy.

Interviewer: Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you good luck for your exams.

(Source: http://carlbenz.idschools.kit.edu/downloads/Student_Voice_CBS_India_Edition_2012.pdf)

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