Suvit is currently pursuing his Master's in Sustainable Energy Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology. He found the programme and enrolled via StudyPortals. We asked Suvit about his experience of searching and applying to the university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself: What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
I am Suvit Porwal, from India and currently 23 years old.
Where are you studying now? What university are you attending? What programme are you enrolled in? What degree are you pursuing and how long is your programme?
I am studying a Master's in Sustainable Energy Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands. The duration of the programme is 2 years.
Why did you want to study abroad?
The motivation behind studying abroad mainly came from the quality of education, research opportunities with excellent infrastructure facilities and freedom to study what I wanted (you can choose the courses you would like to study instead of being forced to study what you don’t like - some programmes may require you to complete some core courses as well). You have a chance to get global exposure and, last but not the least, overall development both personally and professionally.
Searching for study options
How did you find your study programme? Why did you choose this particular university? How did StudyPortals help you?
I got to know about this university from a friend of mine, during my Bachelor's study and I chose this particular university because it offered exactly what I wanted. This university has a very good reputation worldwide and has lots of collaborations with industries and companies for research projects. StudyPortals helped me by giving the detailed information about the course as well as the location (Eindhoven).
I got familiar with the environment and I had an idea of what I could expect once I got there. The biggest advantage that StudyPortals gave me was that I didn’t have to conduct any separate internet searches to get details for the programme, university and location. They have information about the tuition fee, description of the course, contents, admission requirements, funding opportunities, on a single page. This will save your a lot of time and effort.
Did you know about that university and/or programme before seeing it on StudyPortals?
Yes, as I mentioned, one of my friends recommended this university before.
On what stage of application were you using StudyPortals? Did you miss any important information on StudyPortals?
I used StudyPortals to get an overview about the overall structure of the course curriculum, offered by the university. It was also the place that helped me a lot to decide whether I should proceed with the application or do more research.
Deciding for a university
What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?
The first and foremost priority was the programme and coursework that I wanted to study (academics). Apart from that, other factors that I considered were costs, practicalities, city & culture, personal development and social life ( I have written them in the order of my preference).
Was it your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason of your final choice?
I got admitted to the University of Washington, Seattle in the U.S, TU Berlin, Germany but I chose this university because it fitted my budget. It had optimum expenses and the best part was that I got my visa approved with the help of the university. I don’t have to take the trouble of getting my visa approved by applying for it separately and subsequently going to embassy for interviews and other processes. Also, Netherlands is the country in Europe where you can survive without learning Dutch, as every Dutch person speaks English. You don’t need to learn Dutch separately in order to survive here.
Did you know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose for this particular location?
To be honest, I didn’t even give a thought to applying in the Netherlands when I started my application process. I submitted applications mainly for universities in the U.S. and Canada thinking I would enrol in a Master's in Mechanical Engineering specialising in Energy Technology. But, for a Master's in Mechanical Engineering I had to take some core courses that I was not interested in studying at all. It took a lot of time to finally decide what I wanted to do in future. For those who are very clear about their goals and area of interest, it won’t be that difficult to decide. Every university is best in a particular course which happens to be its main research area. It seems to me that German universities are the best in the automobile sector and being admitted for such programmes is equally difficult.
Did you do a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?
I took the TOEFL, as universities do require a proof of your English Proficiency. TOEFL tests your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills at the same time and gives you the scores for your performance in each section. The test is organized by Education Testing Service (ETS) and it is available at their centres all around the world. I chose TOEFL because it is widely accepted in most of the countries. I scored a 93 (R:24, L:22, S:23, W:24). I enjoyed preparing for the test using the TOEFL ETS Official Guide.
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider to study abroad?
Be clear about your goals and ambitions, such as what you want to do in your future career. Choose your university carefully, considering all the parameters that you prefer (the course structure is of utmost importance). There are no on campus placements in Master's studies so it’s up to you to find a job, regardless of the university you choose. The qualities and skills that you develop during your course (from internships and your thesis) will decide your future, instead of depending entirely upon the brand of the university. Attending career fairs and building contact networks are the main key to grabbing job opportunities. Try to maintain good academic results as much as possible during your Bachelor's study, as this will enhance your chances of being admitted and receiving a scholarship.
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
I did not get any scholarship, so I had to support myself for my education. You can take education loans from banks as well. Remember, some investments are worth it, and education as an investment will always be a good idea.
Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It was a total disaster, 10 – I had the time of my life)?
I would definitely recommend this university for future aspiring students, because of the quality of education that is offered here. It’s a technical university, so there are tremendous research opportunities. Eindhoven is the brain port of Netherlands, along with the presence of a high-tech campus that includes many companies like ASML, Philips, NXP, TNO etc. Also the brand value and social life are very high. I would rate it as 9 out of 10. Regarding the city-life, I would say Dutch people are the most friendly and they will try to help you out in every possible way to make you feel comfortable. I can’t say anything that would not recommend this university. It is certainly the best in technical education. However, I am not sure about other non-technical courses offered here.
Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it again?
There are many things that I would like to do, but at this moment nothing comes to mind.
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
The Dutch food (bread is the staple food here) and the opportunities that you get in your work environment (open, friendly and respecting). I never felt insecure or homesick while being away from my home country. You will get many surprises during your journey, so be prepared for tackling exciting challenges and enjoy your life!!!