Freedom and flexibility make research a hands-on experience at Carleton University – Ms. JAYASHREE S.M.

Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, is one of the top universities in Canada that focuses on research in engineering. It is one of the dream destinations for many Indian students aspiring to continue their research studies in North America. Its striking blend of high quality infrastructure and easily accessible resources makes it a conductive environment for self-motivated research.

Canada predominantly follows the English culture. However, quite often, you will come across anything from bonjour, merci and au revoir in your workplace to croissants and macrons being munched over coffee. One can enjoy both the English and the French way of life, simultaneously. This mixed culture also gives an opportunity to learn an additional language to widen your social and professional network, as most Indians do it back home. Moreover, being an international student lets you befriend people from diverse backgrounds across the world and learn more about their cultural experiences.

Although the time zone and weather is different from India, I have eventually got used to it. Part of the quick settling down was mainly due to my previous international experience at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, where I did my master’s thesis project. The research-based learning program in VIT University coupled with the experience gained during my master’s thesis in Eindhoven University of Technology, helped me strengthen my research career and also publish my research. In addition to this, I had a gold medal in structural engineering from VIT University. Both factors ultimately paved the way for bagging a fully-funded doctorate opportunity in Carleton University. Today, I am doing my research in Blast Research Group, Carleton University, on the topic The Effect of High Strain Rate in Hybrid Fiber Reinforced Concrete.

As far as the master’s program in my university is concerned, the university has a well-planned and organized orientation program to induct students into their courses. Almost all students will be helped to find a senior student from their own country and background. Apart from the academic schedule, there are various clubs and student groups for international students within the university. Once you have settled down, finding part-time work is easy, both inside and outside the university.

The academic and research fraternity is friendly and helpful. Almost all lectures will be delivered through presentations and recorded videos are available for reference. Moreover, students have more freedom to choose their course work and research options, and the study timings are flexible. The period of completing the degree depends on students’ discretion.

One of the main aspects of carrying out research in this university is the amount of freedom given to the researcher. Although progress will be monitored by supervisors, the hands-on experience students gain in such flexible environments is enormous. You can do anything from calibrating machines in the laboratory to working on engineering software platforms independently. Apart from academic progress, I have been able to improve my interpersonal skills by delivering seminars and presentations in front of audiences from different cultures.

Grad life at Carleton University is a unique journey which will amply prepare you for future challenges in your career and life.

The writer is a PhD Student, Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carleton University.

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