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The Indian Experience at Technion

Sivan Askayo-Haifa Tech-206

Each year, hundreds of students from around the world enroll in international academic programs taught in English at Technion-Israel’s premier institute for science, technology and applied research.  Technion is Israel’s first university founded over 100 years ago, and was instrumental in laying the infrastructure of the new nation and developing its thriving high-tech economy. Today Technion is ranked among the world’s top 50 science and technology research universities, maintaining academic agreements with more than 200 universities and research frameworks around the globe. It is home to a prominent faculty, among them three Nobel laureates, and a long list of notable alumni including engineers, scientists, physicians and entrepreneurs.

In recent years, young scholars from India are coming to Technion in growing numbers to pursue undergraduate and advanced degrees offered in English through Technion International (TI). TIserves all incoming and enrolled international students and promotes their interaction and integration with the wider Technion community.From year to year TI’s academic programminghas diversified as its student numbers doubled, tripled and quadrupled. We interviewed a group of our students to further understand the growing interest in Technion among our Indian population. They shared with us their learning and living experiences in Israel and at Technion in particular.   What they described was fascinating and inspiring. The core of our discussion and their stories are presented below:

Sooraj Kumar| Second Year | BSc in Civil Engineering

What brought you to Israel?

I wanted to study civil engineering at Technion because its faculty has a good reputation and mainly because of its world-renowned research in water technology (among the top 10). I know that Technion’s excellence in engineering and technology will benefit me greatly in the long run. We get a lot of exposure here through projects and various assignments throughout the academic program. The civil engineering program focuses on management of the different stages of the construction process including a broad variety of tasks that require knowledge and skills in a range of management, economic, business, planning and legal areas, in addition to proficiency in classic engineering issues.

What’s it like living in Israel and on campus?

Israel is a small Jewish nation surrounded by hostile nations, but I assure you it’s nothing like what we hear in the news back in India and no, there are no missiles flying everywhere. The crime rate in Israel is very low and I feel safer in Israel than back home. The official language is Hebrew but most Israelis are fluent in English. Life on campus is usually very active and is buzzing with students with various social activities being held over the year. There are also great athletic activities and sports facilities to enjoy on campus. My classmates are from all over the world – Italy, China, Brazil, France, and others – and I love it because I get a chance to learn about different cultures and countries. We have become like one big family and we usually live very close and regularly hang out even after class. Technion also has an Indian community, most of them pursuing PhD and postdoctoral studies. We get together and play cricket every weekend and have dinner together after that. Overall, living on campus has been a great experience, Haifa is a very peaceful and beautiful city based on the hills of the Carmel mountain range on the shoreline of the Mediterranean.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I plan to pursue a master’s degree at Technion or in the US. Technion has an excellent reputation among colleges and many of its graduates have been accepted to Stanford, MIT, Harvard and other Ivy leagues, and I hope to follow their footsteps.  Studying here has benefited me in other ways, too – Israelis are among the most hardworking and determined people I’ve ever known and so being exposed to this hardworking culture has benefitted me greatly.

 

Shrutit Nagaraja | Visiting Research Student | Medicine |

What brought you to Israel?

I chose to deepen my research at Technion because of the institute’s world-renowned reputation and excellence in engineering and medicine. I was privileged to find a great mentor, Prof. Serge Ankri and am surrounded by people who support young minds and appreciate our ideas and help us learn from our mistakes, which is so important in the study of science.

How did you find the application process?

I had a very positive experience with regards to the application process. Once I decided that I would like to first join as a visiting research student, with the intention of pursuing a graduate degree at Technion, I made contact with my mentor regarding my interest to work in his lab. Following this stage he conducted an interview over Skype with me, which gave me an opportunity to more clearly express my goals and interests in applying for an internship. Once accepted, Technion International processed my application quickly and helped me with all my queries, which made the visa process faster.

How do you manage your living expenses?

Israel is an expensive country. However, the student scholarship I received from Technion has been enough to let me lead a comfortable life (expenses come to between 2500-3000 NIS per month for rent, transport, utilities and miscellaneous expenses). Campus accommodations are relatively cheap and you enjoy many benefits, particularly access to excellent gym facilities, fitness classes and swimming pool.

Stephen Richard Henry Swaminathan | Graduate Student | Medicine | Molecular Biology

What brought you to Israel?

I came to Technion’s Faculty of Medicine to study the involvement of post-translational modifications of proteins in regulating gene expression. I chose to study in Israel because of the country’s great record of scientific accomplishments and innovations, as well as its unique history and heritage. My research is supported by the Biomedical Core Instrumentation facility at the faculty, and the Smoler Proteomics Center at the faculty of Biology. I am very happy with my choice thus far. Studying at Technion has provided me with an opportunity to take part in cutting-edge research, participate in important professional conferences, and learn first-hand from researcher professors of great accomplishments, including Nobel laureates.