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Tushar Vias

Internship was a trip to remember

November 5, 2009

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When computing science student Tushar Vias was offered an eight-month internship at one of the world’s largest software firms, SAP BusinessObjects, in Bangalore, India’s technology capital, he immediately packed his bags.

The company subsidized his accommodation and provided a stipend, while SFU’s India Student Mobility Award—worth as much as $4,000—covered other costs.

Vias worked as a technical writer, creating user manuals, help menus, installation guides and other documentation. He ended up staying almost a year longer after his contract was renewed. And there’s a job there for him when he graduates, although he’s also considering working at the firm’s Vancouver office.

Now that he’s back on campus, Vias says it’s difficult to adjust to the school routine. "At BusinessObjects, 8 am to 5 pm is work and after that is your own time."

But he says his Bangalore experience does help with scheduling schoolwork and preparing for exams. "I can organize my time much better, since I’m (now) used to handling two or three projects at the same time."

Born in India and fluent in Hindi, Vias had no problems adjusting to Indian life. "Most people speak English there anyway," he notes.

He found the work culture hierarchical, similar to that of North America. But he says, "there is still a closeness and ease of communication. We had team-bonding events every month, like dinners and movies."

In Bangalore and on weekend tourist excursions he found the people to be very friendly and welcoming.

"They treated us like ambassadors from Canada, helping us with everything from finding and setting up the apartment to minor details such as taxi fare, the restaurants you should eat at, the best places for music.

"If anyone gets a chance to do an international internship, they should go for it. It’s the experience of a lifetime."

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