Self-confidence and independence thanks to studies at TUK

Ananya Mukherjee is originally from Kolkota in India and came to Germany in 2016 to start her master studies in Applied Computer Science at TU Kaiserslautern. Since her graduation in 2018, she has been working at Siemens Mobility GmbH as System Integrator. She told us about her time studying and working at TU Kaiserslautern.

Could you tell us something about your time studying in Kaiserslautern?

Studying at TU Kaiserslautern is the most memorable experience for me because this was the first time ever I was out of my home country, living an independent life, tackling many new challenging circumstances simultaneously. Initially, everything was a bit overwhelming for me as I am, by nature, a much calm and quiet person. But soon, I gradually appreciated and embraced the environment, the new learning system, the new classmates from different countries and backgrounds. The sooner that happened, the sooner I was able to participate in class, took much effort in finishing my course in time. What I most admired was how straightforward the communication is between professors and students. They always make time to answer any doubts or at least send a response and not keep you waiting forever.

I have also had my first work experience at the university where I could expand professional and social contacts, and experienced German work ethics, which I liked a lot. I loved how professional they are, their trust in co-workers, the rules of absences (including sick leave, day-offs or vacations), most importantly the concept of "work-life balance". My studies at TUK helped me a lot in shaping up myself and building self-confidence. Studying and working simultaneously taught me how to prioritize my tasks and to be able to maintain a professional and cordial gesture even when there is a crisis. Throughout the studies, I could improve my presentation and articulation skills. The various domains of science and research linked with TU Kaiserslautern were also the driving factors to develop a bigger ambition in life.

I am thankful to TUK. Those two years and three months will always be evergreen in my memory as they helped me a lot to shape me who I am today. It was a major self-development phase in my life where I learnt many essential skills and values besides getting a master's degree.

Do you have any special memories of experiences during your time at TUK?

Special memories at TUK would be the Christmas times. I participated at the ISGS Christmas Party celebration, which was pretty eventful. I liked to bake Christmas cookies and participate in the Christmas event. I also went to Frankfurt with ISGS, which was a very eventful day, or attended an AStA party for first semester students. That was so full of people and a bit overwhelming. To be honest I love nature a lot more than people. And I loved the fact that there were several forests and nature enriched places surrounding the campus and also in Kaiserslautern itself. I must have taken thousands of photographs and selfies with my friends.

Have you noticed any particular differences in the way of life between your home country and Germany or especially Kaiserslautern?

Yes, I have noticed distinct differences in the way of life between my home country India and Germany. To mention a few things:
I come from a country where youngsters, especially women, do not have an independent life or choices and decisions. In that regard, living in Germany I have encountered an absolute independent life. I am free to decide what I want to do, when I want to do. Also, I feel a woman's choice gets much value and respect in Germany and nobody cares to judge or belittle others choices. Living in India seemed to be comfortable but living in Germany has many additional challenges to overcome especially during the first year when I was getting to know the "rules" and German customs, but then, again, I do value the freedom, whatsoever.

There are many cultural festivals in India from different religions and races. Every occasion is full of colors, colorful traditional wears, songs, dances, delicious meals and dishes, etc. People are very eager to mix with other people. They do appear to be very eager to know about other people, their life, their work, etc. Whereas in Germany, the occasions are very cosy and lively to an extent. People do not really appear to be extra-friendly here.

What excites you most about your profession?

I work as a System Integrator at Siemens Mobility in Braunschweig. What excites me most in my profession is the continuous flow of new challenges to encounter daily tasks. I love to interact with my colleagues and new connections from other departments, learn, and grow simultaneously. I like the fact that they accept mistakes, as I believe that making mistakes is the best way to learn and excel. This provides me an environment where highly experienced colleagues surround me. It is a great experience to be able to work side by side with them. This is also a place where one gets to develop not only in his/her project-related works but also in strategic topics from the whole department where one is encouraged to come up with new innovative ideas and perspectives to bring changes to the current way of work. I enjoy my work environment and colleagues at Siemens, they are gradually becoming like my second family here.

What advice would you give to our students who are about to start their professional life?

Be organised and focussed in what you want to achieve. And then, continue to work hard towards your goal. If you truly want to achieve something and you are constantly focussed, motivated and hardworking, you will eventually create your own way. Honestly, there is no predefined formula for everyone when it comes to starting a professional life. Many have told me that I might need to have some internship or have an experience as a "working student" in certain firms to have better job opportunities in the future. Well, I just didn't listen to them and considered it doable to get into a permanent job right after studies. I started scanning for the jobs early and faced personal interviews. I was lucky that the second interview itself was Siemens and they offered me a full-time permanent job even three months before I had finished my master thesis.

TU Kaiserslautern was the second university I had applied to and got an admission to. Similarly, Siemens was the second company I had applied to, and I received an acceptance from there, too. It will not work out that way for everyone, but I believe that if we get something valuable early, we need to stick with it because opportunities never come twice.


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