Far from Home: A travel for PhD

Scene 1: Scrawny Little Child

Born and raised slightly outside of city of Mumbai, India, I was never a kid who would be interested in sports per se (although I still watch a lot of football, tennis and cricket). Although I did play with my friends, it was mostly playing chess, carom and playing cards. But the one thing that defined my childhood was my eventual love for video games. My parents got me a console when I was 6 but there was a condition to play. I would only get to play on it during my summer and winter (Diwali) holidays. It was more about them wanting me to concentrate on my studies and dare I say, looking back, it worked perfectly. Despite never being competitive in sports, I was hella competitive in academics (crying for days if I got a B on a test). I started to like studies and became genuinely interested in going as further as possible in the curriculum.

Scene 2: First, travelling across India

Fortunately, due to my good scores in the pre-university and subsequent university entrance exams, I was able to get in to one of the top 15 engineering schools in India, namely, Vellore Institute of Technology, Chennai, India.

Scene 3: Germany, here I come

Scene 4: Joyous Italy

My quest to pursue a PhD was on the cusp of reality. I had graduated from my Masters in Darmstadt. During this time, the financial issues with my family back home were starting to rumble in my head. I was yearning for the moment when I would be in my PhD, but it seemed like I had to put it on hold. Due to my financial troubles I had to rely on my friends for support (and I will be forever grateful), which meant I was in mountains of debt that I had to take care of (on top of the education loan I got for my studies). This meant that I had to find a PhD that would not only pay me enough to survive, but would also allow pay off debts to everyone and support my family back home.

Credits

Article written and edited by Anay Deshpande, a PhD researcher at Università degli Studi di Padova.

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