“My curiosity to learn something new every day motivated me to pursue research.”
Interviewee: Archana, MS - Bioengineering at Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden), Germany.
Interviewer: Sameeha, 3rd Year Biomedical Engineering. (GT)
GT: From a B. Tech in Biotechnology to MS in Bioengineering, what motivated you to pursue a research-oriented path?
Archana: I'm a science enthusiast. My curiosity to learn something new every day motivated me to pursue research.
GT: Studying in a German university, were you required to take any German language test?
Archana: As the course is taught in English, I didn’t have to take any German language tests. After my admission, I had two months before my course started. I used this time to learn some basic German as a precaution.
GT: Was the Technical University of Dresden your only college of choice?
Archana: I was more concerned about the course than the college. I had to choose between molecular bioengineering and biophysics. After checking the curricula offered in different universities, I finally decided that bioengineering was the right choice for me. So, the struggle was to find a suitable course of my liking. The course offered in TU Dresden appealed to me. It also had the kind of lab facilities I wanted to work with. So that’s how I decided to pursue my Masters here.
GT: How is the teaching methodology? How frequently do you have classes?
Archana: We have a very adaptable timetable. The class hours are flexible- it’s not the typical Monday to Friday 9 AM-5 PM schedule. We sit through one or two hours of tutorials, where we get some questions to solve. We also have enough time to explore various labs. However, the first two semesters included some intensive coursework.
GT: Is there any particular thesis that you are working on currently?
Archana: I’m interested in topics where biology meets physics and engineering. At present, I am working on the biophysics of cancer proteins. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of such fields of study, we also require the expertise of physicists and biologists to assist with the research.
GT: Are you studying on a grant or is it self-supported? How did you arrange accommodation?
Archana: As TU Dresden is a public university, no tuition fee is charged. To meet our expenses and to do research, we could work in labs here. For accommodation, students have dormitories. As the campus is spread throughout the city, you must find your accommodation near your department. TU Dresden has a student organization that helps allocate housing facilities located close to the campus.
GT: Tell us about the lab facilities offered in TU Dresden.
Archana: We are provided with state-of-the-art lab facilities. The labs are well equipped with everything we need. Even if you don't have a piece of equipment or facility, you can always crash into other labs which have the equipment and collaborate with the people there. Everyone here is approachable and enthusiastic.
GT: What are your plans once you complete your Masters?
Archana: I aspire to become an academician. I’m planning on doing a PhD. I would like to do academic research and eventually be involved in post-doctorate research.
GT: How did this pandemic affect your studies at TU Dresden?
Archana: It did force us into one semester of online classes. We had to spend a lot of time in front of the computer, which otherwise would have been held in auditoriums where we could have interacted with the professors. It was good, but not as much as on-site teaching, where we could go to classes, know more about and interact with one another. We had certain restrictions to follow at the laboratories too.
GT: What advice would you like to give your juniors interested to pursue Masters in such universities?
Archana: Our college provides us with lots of opportunities to explore or discover our interests and talents. I would advise my juniors to use these opportunities to figure out what to do next after their undergraduate studies. Explore all the options the campus has to offer. Internships can help find your area of interest. To pursue a Master’s degree, doing subject-specific projects or thesis work, can help provide an edge in your admission to the university of your choice.
The Guindy Times thanks Ms Archana for her time and valuable information. We wish her good luck in all her future endeavours!