Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Subramaniam, fourth year student of Mechanical Engineering from NIT Trichy.
How did you go about the application process for MITACS?
I was informed about the process by a senior of mine. The application process is pretty simple;most of the information that you’ll need is on the website mc.mitacs.ca. They specify very clearly regarding what you’ll need.
What were the roadblocks you faced during the application process?
In general, I didn’t really know how to start with my resume as such. For those who don’t know, I suggest you have a look at tp.nitt.edu and download the resume format and fill that in. Another important document that applicants will require is a copy of your transcript, which requires a lot of running around. You’ll also need a recommendation letter from a professor of your choice, which again requires a bit of nagging and running around. Then you have your resume, which is the icing on the cake that is your resume.
When would you recommend that interested students start applying?
The application process closes at the end of September. So I highly recommend that interested applicants start applying now, considering that the first CT has also ended.
Scholarships like DAAD require you to email professors first, and then apply through the DAAD-WISE program. Is it the same in the case of MITACS?
No. In fact it’s highly recommended that you that do not email professors. From what I have heard, the entire process is very unbiased. In personal terms, the prof has no idea who the student is and the same vice versa. It’s basically a case of the professor looking through your profile, and taking you for the internship if he/she is satisfied.
How did you go about shortlisting projects and applying for a visa?
There are a ton of good projects with each having their own merits and demerits. However you have these few standout projects that would give media attention. I’d suggest you be a little more conservative in that approach and choose projects that would not give you as much media and publicity, but would give solid research experience. The visa application process is pretty easy. MITACS gives you all the documents and cash required to complete the visa application process (about 200 dollars). The rest of it is just a case of submitting the documents to the VFS office in Bangalore or Chennai (I suggest Bangalore). Then it’s just a matter of a week and half or so before you get your visa.
What was your project based on?
My field of study was Applied Fluid Mechanics. I worked on the lab modelling and mixing of end pit lakes.
How would you describe your internship experience?
The internship experience was different to say the least. Jumping across the globe with a 12 hour 12 gap was something entirely different. The people were so nice and it was truly amazing to work with them. They aren’t stressful when it comes to work and time. Basically they’re all in support of you having a good time in Canada.
Did you meet people from across the world during your internship?
Since the MITACS program takes in students from Mexico, Brazil, Vietnam, and China, I had the chance to meet people from all these places. You had the party going Mexicans, the more conservative Chinese, and the lone Vietnam ranger who is pretty much a silent solitary guy.
Describe your typical work week and off campus life.
MITACS intern are supposed to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The day starts of pretty slow. At the end of the day it’s all about you putting in your best efforts to get the best research experience you can get. The work is chill. No one comes during the weekends and everyone is out by 5 pm. The off campus life was really enjoyable. In north Canada, the sun sets only at about 10:30 pm. So what you have is this beautiful extended evening. We spent most of our evenings either at our accommodation, biking by the riverside, or going shopping.
Did you face any obstacle during your internship?
Nothing really. The only incident I remember was getting lost on the way to the supermarket and then trying to find my way. Another one was when my bicycle chain got tangled while I was changing gears; and this random Canadian hopped out of his car to help me fix it. Just goes to show how nice they really are.