Abhinav Jha,
BMS Phase II Student,
MSc IIT Roorkee,
BSc University of Delhi

During my masters, I was clear that I wanted to do my doctorate from a European country, to get better exposure and a different environment. I was visiting my department when I saw the poster of BMS and it instantly attracted me. Going over to the website and looking at the amazing organization and the collaboration that BMS provides, I was sure that I wanted to pursue my doctorate from Berlin.

As a Phase II student, the biggest issue I faced was finding a suitable supervisor. There were a lot of supervisors I wanted to work with but the information provided by the research area section allowed me to shorten the list considerably. The application process was simple and pretty straightforward. And whenever I faced any difficulties, the BMS One-Stop Office was always there to help me. My interview went well and I was hopeful that I will be selected. I still remember because of some issues my acceptance was delayed to May. Because of this, I was a little nervous but BMS was always transparent and told me the reason for the delay as well as not to worry. Finally, I got my offer and I said yes in no time!

For a Non-European student, the bureaucracy work is quite a lot and one requires filling a lot of forms. Some forms are in English and some are not. The process was made simpler for me, as I was guided about everything, starting from getting a visa to getting a mobile connection. The first time coming out of your home country is scary, you have tons of questions, and it's always nice to talk to some former students from your own region. This is where the BMS Buddy Program comes. It's one of the best initiatives I have seen and my buddy helped me with all my problems. After living in Berlin for more than two years, I have volunteered for this program and have been a buddy for four students.

For a young researcher, it's important to go to conferences and interact with researchers from different areas. The travel funding that BMS provides helped to meet new people and discuss my ideas as well as get to know about their ideas as well. The process for reimbursement is made quite clear and if one gets in some problem, there is always someone to help. As a Phase II student, I didn't have any interactions with any professor outside my research group. There are some times, that one requires a third-person perspective about ideas and personal problems. The BMS Mentoring Program is really helpful in this situation. Having a mentor from a different university really helped me to look at a problem from another angle and has also helped me personally.

But, the biggest thing: Berlin is famous for is its vibrant atmosphere and places to visit. I am an introvert and making friends for me doesn't come that easy. But from the first week, the student representatives have made the settling process easy. I believe the social activities are a real integral part of one's studies and the student reps do a great job in that. For once a fortnight, you forget about your studies and chat with friends about the latest football match or the latest movie. I was so much impressed by this that I decided to become a student representative. During this time you realize that the organization of the social activities is just one part that the student reps do, the organization aspect is completely different and fascinating. Attending meetings, expressing ideas, joining insightful discussions helped me to be more systematic and learn about the functioning of BMS:

Now, as I am in my final lap of the race, I believe I made the correct choice of coming to Berlin and more importantly choose BMS. I didn't just get friends here but I got a family!

Published in March 2020