In this interview, we speak with Abel Tan, our undergraduate student in the Electrical Engineering & Information Technology programme, who became the first TUM Asia student to secure an internship in Germany as an undergraduate. Abel had the opportunity to intern at Lantiq, a technology company based in Munich, Germany.
Hi Abel, can you share with the readers how you came to bag this amazing opportunity to intern in Germany?
Abel: Actually, this whole internship opportunity came as a surprise to me. Back when I was still in Year 1, I happened to be talking to my lecturer, Dr. Joham and he was telling me about plans to have students intern or work in companies at Germany. He recommended me for this opportunity as he felt that I was suitable to represent TUM Asia, having done well for a specific module. The plans only became concrete in the following year. A doctoral (PhD) candidate at the Institute of Signal Processing, who was based under my professor, was working in Lantiq. After some discussion, I was fortunate to be offered the internship at Lantiq, working under the PhD candidate.
How did you feel, as you prepared to become the first TUM Asia undergraduate intern working in Germany?
Abel: It was a mixture of feelings for me. I was thrilled to able to do an internship overseas in Germany and definitely overjoyed that I would get to stay in Europe for a longer period of time, but also a little anxious because I did not know what to expect. I also felt the pressure because a lot was expected of me. I would be representing the university and my professor’s institute, and I would also have been the first Bachelor student in TUM Asia to do an internship overseas.
Can you tell us more about your work at Lantiq, and did you also notice any differences in the work culture?
Abel: My role was to assist my direct supervisor in the research of his project. A big part of the internship involved applying concepts and equations to the program and running simulations to obtain and observe the results. My supervisor gave me the free space to do my work at my own pace and checked up on me once in a while to see if I was doing fine. I would approach him when I needed help with my understanding or my program code.Because of the project-based work in the department I was assigned to, my work schedule was more relaxed than expected. I could plan my time in the office, with some days having more hours, and some days having less, as long as I met the minimum required hours per week. This is definitely a different culture from what I am used to in Singapore where the hours are more fixed in place.
Now that you are back from spending almost half a year in Munich, what experiences did you take home with you?
Abel: The purpose of our Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) is not only to complete our thesis and internship. Many professors would advocate that every student takes time to travel around Europe to gain new experiences, which was exactly what I did. While I still had to complete my thesis and internship, my workload was not overwhelming. Travelling during my free time and the holidays allowed me to experience the life and culture of the people while my internship allowed me to experience the working culture in Germany. Both experiences were something that I would not exchange for anything and I really learnt a lot from my time in Germany.
Abel obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in the field of Electrical Engineering & Information Technology with the Technical University of Munich. He studied in the Singapore branch campus (TUM Asia) and spent six months in Munich, Germany to complete his thesis and internship at the home campus of the university. The mandatory internship is only required by students with non-articulated Polytechnic diploma or GCE ‘A’ Levels holders. Students with an articulated diploma will enjoy an exemption package, including the exemption of a mandatory internship.
To read the full interview with Abel, it was first published in our DIGEST newletter (May 2016).
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TUM Asia administrates the TUM Bachelor degrees together with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). GCE ‘A’ Levels, Polytechnic Diploma and international qualification holders may apply for the TUM Bachelor degrees.
Find out more about the programmes offered >>
Interested students may apply for the TUM Bachelor of Science programmes from 11 January to 19 March 2017.
Applications are accepted at our partner university’s admission site: https://admission.singaporetech.edu.sgAn Opportunity Gained in Germany: Abel Tan