ISAE-SUPAERO Campus life - If you thought France was only meant for those with an interest in luxury and its management, you are definitely wrong. The country is well known as one of the top destinations for pursuing engineering and over 10 universities from France figure in the list of the top engineering colleges in the world. But, quality education is not the only reason why international students choose to study in France. Akhil Anant, a Charpak scholarship winner who pursued Aircraft & Helicopter Design from ISAE-SUPAERO, says, “The opportunity to learn the rich and uniquely preserved culture of France as well as socialize with diverse and multi-cultural groups is what lured me towards studying in France.”
In this interview with Careers360, Akhil talks about his campus life in ISAE-SUPAERO, how the university has helped him discover his ability as a global student.
Below are the edited excerpts:
Q. Was there any specific reason why you chose to study in France and in ISAE-SUPAERO?
A. France is known in Aeronautic circles for being a major contributor to modern aviation technologies and ISAE-SUPAERO is a very famous institute in this domain. Created in 1909, SUPAERO is one of the oldest "Grande Ecole" in Aeronautics and Space sciences. It is a world famous institution with equally renowned alumni; these and many other factors got me excited about the prospect of studying here.
Q. Were there any other universities or countries in your mind while applying?
A. Apart from France, I did have the United States of America in mind, but the higher costs of education with difficulties in job prospects for non-citizens in the field of Aeronautics and Space made me focus more towards Europe for my education. Although the Research and Development in this field in the USA are second to none, to me, pursuing the Advance Masters program in ISAE-SUPERO was a good and suitable alternative.
Q. You are one of the recipients of the Charpak 2014 Scholarship. What encouraged you to apply for the scholarship? Can you give us a background about your life as well as your qualifications?
A. One of the main factors for me was the fact that I always wanted to fund my own education as studying abroad is an expensive affair. I think it is a very important reason for most students from India looking for foreign education.
I am from Chennai, India. My parents were doctors in the Indian Air Force and that ensured a very diverse upbringing across different parts of India. Even in school, I had an inclination towards the Aerospace and Automotive domains. I eventually decided on Mechanical engineering for my Bachelors in Engineering and continued to pursue a Masters in Technology degree in Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing from Vellore Institute of Technology in 2011. Post my studies in India, I have worked for about 3 years in the field of Automotive and Aerospace. In the quest to attain a firmer foothold (for I knew I wanted more knowledge) in the field of Aeronautics, the opportunity to apply to ISAE-SUPAERO in Toulouse, France, was timely and did not need much of a motivation to apply for the scholarship. It is a world renowned institute for Aerospace and Aeronautics. I am currently pursuing an Advanced Masters program in Aircraft & Helicopter Engineering with a major in 'Structures', which is a one year specialized course for experienced engineers, either with job experience or an existing masters degree.
Q. Why did you choose Aircraft & Helicopter Engineering? What aspect of the subject interests you?
A. I wanted a course which could teach me about the domain of Aircraft & Helicopter Design and also wanted more in-depth knowledge in the field of Structures. This course offered me that combination. Also, there are very few courses in the fascinating world of helicopters and I was very keen in understanding the concepts of Rotorcraft technology in addition to the intricate aspects of Aircraft Design.
Q. Tell us about your life at ISAE-SUPAERO.
A. Life at ISAE-SUPAERO has been very busy. The Advanced Masters is a concise and a very intensive program which leaves for very little time outside of work and studies. Nevertheless, I did manage to enjoy the fantastic city of Toulouse, learn French, learn the rich and uniquely preserved culture of France, socialize with diverse and multi-cultural groups, participate in many activities concerning music and sports, experience a very different education system to ours and last but not the least, travel across Europe which was one of the most beautiful trips of my lifetime.
Q. What about studying in a foreign country? Share your experience with us?
A. Studying abroad is an experience worth every penny and every second of one's life. It opens you to so many possibilities and experiences. The exposure you get makes you realize that human beings are all equal and deal with the exact same things, no matter which part of the world they come from.
The initial bit to deal with, of course, is the culture shock. It takes time to get used to the way things happen here. Many things are different. The discipline in life is something that commands immediate attention. Managing your studies, tests, assignments, reports along with running your house, finances, socializing aspects etc teach you to be independent and train you in time management like no other experience. Personally, I have learnt many life skills which will help me for the rest of my life.
You also have new respect for the power of languages. It is a life changing experience that cannot be weighed against anything else. A new and improved version of you is the biggest return on investment out of the whole studying abroad experience. It could get intimidating and nerve wracking at the beginning but once you get past that, you realize what wonderful things one learns going through these experiences.
Q. What are your future plans after completing the course?
A. I plan to work abroad for some time to get a global outlook into how things work here when compared to India. Being a global player helps in improving one's employability according to me. It's a very different work environment and I want to explore more so that someday, I can implement many good things that I learn from here, and do my best to work for any organization, either in India or abroad.
Q. What are your interests and hobbies?
A. My interests are in Product Design and Development, New Tech in the Aerospace and Transportation industry, Upcoming Startups to follow, watching TED and the Mechanical Engineering industry in general. I also enjoy other fields of design and creativity.
My hobbies are playing basketball, playing the drums and keyboards, singing, dancing, reading, listening to music, swimming and watching movies. I have participated in many extra-curricular activities since the time I was in school and plan to continue to do the same.
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