Who are you?
Jyothishraj Nambisan, PhD, Physics
Who is your employer?
Dept. of Physics, University of Barcelona (UB)
How did you learn about your internship?
My PI at GT is on a sabbatical at Barcelona, and since I was just starting out on my own research, he encouraged me to apply for a research position at UB. We decided on pursuing my research through GIP as the funds from Spain were approved to support me. This happened during Summer/Fall 2018.
What was the application process like?
Due to the fact that my PI at GT would be my mentor at UB, convincing the institutes went well and I got an offer letter quickly. The cumbersome part was the Spanish visa application, which was complicated due to the fact that I'm an International student here on F1 visa. So I had to complete admin processes with offices from 3 countries (India, US & Spain) to get things sorted out. That was tiring but worth the effort in the end.
What were your major tasks or projects at this internship?
My primary goal was to continue the work I started out GT as a 2nd year GRA, and to make progress independently. The additional challenges due to the GIP project involved collaborations with a group at UB (who have expertise in the same physical system as mine), setting up a research lab from scratch (I helped in starting out things, process still ongoing..) and eventually presenting my work at 2 European conferences which we identified during my project time.
Do you have any recommendations for Georgia Tech students looking to intern in the same company or country?
I'd highly recommend students to spend some time in Barcelona since it is gaining hold as a strong STEM centre in Europe. You might get a few headaches with the paperwork, but looking at the overall experience you'd get in Barcelona, it would be worth it.
Did you find accomodations independently or with your company's help?
I found it independently with the help of my friends.
How has this internship influenced your career path?
Academically, I was able to pursue my own thesis work, independently since I was the only one on the project. The 2 conferences presentation I did (one was a poster, the second was a talk) were received well, and were in fact the first time I could present my work as a PhD in front of the community. Professionally, I believe the time spent at GIP has enhanced my decision making skills at work, ability to figure things out on my own and gave me insights into how research is done in other parts of the world. Personally, I grew in confidence regarding my work, presentation skills and meeting new people from different cultures. Outside work, I found my time in Barcelona (and my travels in Europe) quite fun - the cityscapes, the nature, football (I mean soccer) and books all helped me relax and have an experience quite fruitful in a holistic sense.
If paid, did the company you worked for pay you enough to live off of your salary or stipend, or did you have to supplement your income with personal funds?
Since I was in a research position, I was paid a salary equivalent to a PhD student in Barcelona. It was sufficient to meet my needs and I could save money, as the living cost in Barca isn't as high as Atlanta.