Source: TNN | Mar 18, 2013
By Malini Sen
With tighter regulations for international students in the UK, universities are coming up with alternative options to help students gain work experience while studying. The Faculty of Engineering in University of Bristol has launched a ‘Dean’s international intern scholarship scheme’ that puts international undergraduate engineering students in touch with companies in their home countries so that they can undertake short (two to three months) internships during their summer holidays (July-September ). The best of these interns win a Dean’s scholarship from Bristol.
“In the current economic climate, it can be tough for students to get internships in the UK. Since the highest number of international students is from India and China, we decided to approach engineering and technology companies in these two countries for internship opportunities,” says Nishan Canagarajah, dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol. Canagarajah, who was in the Capital recently, is also a professor of multimedia signal processing. He further adds, “We act as the matchmaker. We match the student’s interests with the company’s profile and requirements . The company pays a stipend to the student and the university gives a certificate. Hence, students not only earn, but they also get recognised for their achievement. This complements the other opportunities that all our students can avail of, such as our new first year mentoring scheme whereby all students — home and overseas — get an industrial mentor.”
There are around 2000 undergraduate students in the faculty and 25% are from overseas. In the scheme’s pilot year, 2012, out of 45 applications from international students, 17 were from Indian students. The aim is to expand this year and get more companies from India on board, shares John McWilliams, Industrial Liaison Manager. “We have been getting a positive response from companies around India and that is encouraging,” he adds. Sheik Abdul Malik from Bangalore, winner of the Dean’s international intern scholarship in 2012, did an internship with Hindustan Aeronautical Limited ( HAL) in Bangalore. “This internship gave me a better understanding of what I have been learning at university — it gave me a chance to apply knowledge to real-world problems. It has motivated me to go into the design field of engineering in the future,” says Malik.