Away from Delft – Masters Thesis! (Part-1)

For the entirety of my first year; I lived in Delft, albeit at some distance from the university. Despite the 15 minutes of biking (which was quite the effort during winters); my daily schedule was pretty standardized:

1.  Attend lectures in the day
2. Assignments in the evening, in the library or the EWI building
3. Take a walk around the campus; enjoy the weather
4. Bike back home.

Through the narrow passageways of Delft.

I believe this applies to most students at TU Delft. But when one has no courses to study at the university in the second year, the story changes. I chose to do my masters thesis at a firm based in Arnhem; which is situated in East Netherlands, hundreds of kilometers away from Delft. This, as you can imagine; leads to some regular travel between the cities.

The beginning of the Master’s thesis is the most confusing part; and that is the stage I currently am on the date of this blog post. To understand the idea behind the project to be undertaken; one’s role and how it fits in the bigger picture while still finding a research question to answer requires constant contact with supervisors both at the university and the company- hence the regular movement between the cities. That being said – one is always free to do more courses in the second year if they can manage to fit it alongside the workload of Master’s Thesis.

My lifeline around the country

Because of the distance; the expenses add up as well. Looking around for a few cost-saving options; I stumbled upon NS Flex. NS is the company which runs the train services in most part of The Netherlands; and if you have a personalized OV Chipkaart (Public transport card); you can avail the multitude of packages they offer. A few of them which caught my eye were:

1. Dal Voordeel – 5 Euros per month; gives you 40% discount on off-peak hours(weekdays) and entire weekend.
2. Altijd Voordeel – 23 Euros per month; gives everything in Dal Voordeal; and also gives 20% discount during peak hours(weekdays).
3. Dal Vrij – 103 Euros per month; all travel during off-peak hours are free.

These plans, since the inception of NS Flex, can be chosen per month and not yearly. This means; if you predict a lot of travel in a particular month, you can upgrade your plan. I personally currently have an Altijd Voordeel; and am considering a Dal Vrij due to the regularity of travel.

I also took the decision of biking to work and back everyday; and not take public transport. I chose to rent a bike temporarily from Swapfiets. My decision to rent a bike over buying a second-hand one was mostly due to past experiences – I ended up spending a lot more on repairs than I bought the bike for.  These rented bikes are serviced for free, and are comparatively economical for a student at 12 Euros a month.

So; if you see yourself travelling quite often during your stay in The Netherlands; consider getting yourself one of the deals from NS and maybe save some extra bucks for those beers? And if not; bike away!

Keep sparkling!

Tackling the housing crisis head on

Delft is a beautiful student city. The narrow roads, the cozy canals, and the young population make you feel you’re right at home. Except finding a home in Delft is a challenge on its own.

There has been a constant increase in the number of international students joining TU Delft in the past 5 years, over multiple disciplines.  With no significant increase in the student housing facilities in the city, international students are forced to look on arranging their own accommodation. An address is compulsory for registration with the municipality, and hence, to register yourself in The Netherlands. It is, therefore,  always adviced to secure one’s accommodation before choosing to move to Delft for studies.

Beautiful Delft, and its narrow passageways! (Taken from /u/FrenkAnderwood, reddit)

In the past 15 months in this country, I have moved to two houses and would be moving to a 3rd place soon. While there was a major amount of luck involved, it always pays to stay alert. Here’s how I managed to dissolve my housing woes!

1. Keeping my options open:


There are multiple possibilities you can look into when searching for a house to live in. Most of them are online – websites like are oriented towards individual rooms for rent, while other websites like,, and are more focused on renting apartments. Most websites charge a monthly rate for their services. Apart from websites, there are groups on facebook where people often rent/sublet their own rooms for the specified duration. This helps both the buyer and seller as there is no middle-man (and hence no processing fee) involved. The downside of Facebook groups is the extremely high demand to supply ratio.  While we only require one room to live in, because of the lack of options one may have to share an apartment with other students/ working individuals. Housing is not always affordable and regularly checking all these avenues helped me secure the best possible deal!

2. Defined the minimum I need from a room:

Tiny and cozy, is just what I want! (Taken from /u/herzburger, reddit)

For some, a house is just a place where one goes back to sleep after a tiring day. For others, it is their safe place, where they can perform at their peak, mentally. Clearly, expectations of different people from a house are different. In my personal case, I was looking for a house which was furnished and had all basic amenities. This helped filter my choices from the websites mentioned above and focussed my search in a specific direction.  When going for a viewing for the room, the hygiene of the communal areas is a must: the kitchen, the common room, and the toilet/bathroom. I was able to make a rough idea about the kind of people I would be living with, based on how they maintain the common areas. Defining the minimum requirements also helps in setting a realistic budget limit for the kind of house they wish to live in.

3. Understanding the fine print:

Ballpoint Pen on Top of White Printer Paper Beside 100 U.s. Dollar Bill

Keeping a strong eye on where you are paying.

There are a few details which go unnoticed when looking for listings on Facebook or through websites. Sellers sometimes include the rent of the room alone, ignoring the price of the utilities(gas, water, electricity, internet) per month. On the first look, the rent may seem enticing, but adding monthly utility bills gives a round idea of the overall money one has to spend per month on their accommodation.

Another common misconception is subletting vs renting. Sub-letting is only for a short duration, where the student who is currently living in a house decides to rent. If I were to move into a sublet apartment, the municipality still records the resident of the house to be the renter and not me.  This can put one in serious pickle juice!

4. Protecting myself from scams:

Because of the rampant demand for houses, scammers lurk out in the open, looking for vulnerable students to take money from. There are a few indicators I used to distinguish a scam listing from a genuine listing. If any listing demands that one sends their personal identification documents or money before they send one a contract, red alert! These might be an indication of identity theft and scams! It is also always safe to check the contract for any misprints or mistakes which might indicate it to be fake.


While finding a good house still is a matter of luck, luck favors those who try! Stay alert and stay awesome!

Work x Studies – Internship in Q5!

Well,  Newton was right. A body prefers to stay in rest unless a force acts on it. That was me during the summer holidays, lazing around while the temperatures soared to a record high this year! Despite the heat wave, there was another impending wave on its way: the new academic year, with a bunch of whole new challenges.

I found myself an internship at a company called SIM-CI, which is located in Den Haag. Unfortunately, having to move out of Delft meant that I had to travel longer, which also meant a bit extra time commuting! While I really enjoy the work I am doing there, I have been taking keen efforts to not miss out on activities at TU Delft.  As an international non-EU student myself, the high fees often attract many similar students to look for an internship/thesis in a company to reduce their expenses by a certain measure, while also gaining valuable work experience. Although I do not have a sureshot formula, I can tell you a few things I did to finalize my internship:

  1.  I got my CV checked:
    People often underestimate the precision in creating a winning CV. While I haven’t perfected the art myself, I took help from the various CV checks held by third parties at the university. After compiling all their suggestions together, I found out the common fallacies and corrected them.

    CV checks are crucial.

    Apart from correcting my CV, I was not really getting a lot of responses until I began modifying my CV as per the requirement/job profile of the company. Targeted attacks are a lot more effective than quantity, I learnt.

  2. Found a niche I am interested in:

    Power flows and little funny calculations

    During my first years of masters, there were a lot of topics within my research group of choice which interested me. Being from Power Engineering, the current surge in renewable energy and smart grids has put in a lot of options on the table. Despite the choices, after a couple of months of internship hunting, I started focussing on certain topics which I could see myself working on and learning, much later beyond university life as well – like power flows and RTDS simulations. After I assured myself of my choice, I found it much easier to approach companies regarding opportunities.

  3. Starting early:
    This was one mistake I made which luckily did not end up biting me on the back. While I managed to secure an internship, its always best to start the search early. Not only does it give you more time and companies to apply to, it also helps with the grey time of official paperwork. This allows for more time to carefully read the contract offered by the company, and announce any objections/queries before you begin interning.

    Personally, I was a little struck up on time due to personal delays. But since processing files take time on both the company and the university side, its best to start as early as possible(probably around mid 3rd quarter is best, to start).

  4. Talk to your professors/supervisors:

    Universities often have contact with companies regarding research on certain areas. As a result professors may have contacts within a few companies through which they can recommend a few students/candidates for internship positions.  Do not be shy in asking for any possible leads with professors who have already taught you/teaching you as they know you and know if you could possibly fit as an intern into any of the companies they have contacts with.

    Jobs apart, talking with professors and supervisors builds up a rapport which goes in a long way in the future.

    Good luck in the new academic year, and may the odds be always on your side!


“Ich bin eine Berliner”- The Siemens Trip!

What do John F Kennedy, a famous cement wall and sausages with sauce have in common? Berlin, of course!

Every other year, the student organization Sterkstroomdispuut(SSD), which caters to Electrical Power Engineering students at TU Delft, organizes a student trip to Siemens factories and production facilities in Berlin, where the international firm was founded before any of the world wars occurred. This year, our friends at SSD, which is under Electrotechnische Vereeniging(ETV), managed to rope into our agenda a few more interesting locations, and surely, a hell lot of fun!

Somewhere by the river, chilling!

Just like every travel story, we set out on a journey by road on the 4th of May, a distance of almost 700 km. While I had heard a lot of the German autobahns, the free expansive roads allowing for a smooth cruise helped us cover the distance just within 8 hours of driving, and left us time to hop around the beautiful city of Berlin. With the warm weather and slippers on, we set on foot exploring Checkpoint Charlie, which is the third and most famous checkpoint between the East and the West regions of Berlin during the cold war. With chunks of Berlin wall still on display, the difference in politics and ideas between the two sides can be seen to this day. We ended our day with a scrumptious Italian meal!

The Berlin TV Tower

Since our company tours had yet another day to be, we chose Sunday to laze around, and visit major tourist attractions. All 18 of us chose to go to the DDR museum, a museum dedicated to the division of Germany and Berlin, and its impact on daily life. While we could see technological advancements made, the costs were made very clear. The Berlin TV tower, which is close to the museum was a treat to visit, allowing us a birds-eye view of the historic city. But to view the same city with different eyes is a special chance- the boat ride along the river Spree was a totally different experience showing the more humane past- of parks, and greenery and glorious buildings!

The squad, at Siemens Meßgerätewerk

We moved on to the next day when we visited two companies-Menzel Motors and GE Power Electronics, both based out of the city. They gave us an industrial perspective of how these huge machines are created, and a definite idea to conceptualize whatever we have studied in our textbooks. While GE Power Electronics dealt with the production of their products – power electronics and protection systems which are used after generation, Menzel motors create (you guessed it) motors. We moved on to Siemens the last two days, within which we visited three of their factories. Dealing with a wide range of products from HUGE electrical machines to protection systems and measurement instruments, the trip catered to every student’s specialization and their interest. We learned a lot about the methodology of design, why certain materials are used, new advancements in the sector among others. The general sense of enthusiasm in all of us was visible, despite the tiring past few days!


The  old-school yet cool Menzel Motors


On our second last day, we went to an energy museum, which is dedicated to maintaining the olden relics of the electrical world: the first generation of cables, the old power plant models, how switches were designed, how ammeters worked and so on. They had, on display, items almost even a 100 years old. Just walking through a passage in time showed us how quick we have advanced as humans, and how much of a difference collaboration plays in moving us forward as a species using technology as a medium. Not all that well known, I would definitely recommend anyone going to Berlin to at least give this museum a visit!

Despite my rants in a previous blog on the busy quarter that is Q4, I am glad that I chose to take 1 week out of schedule to visit a new city, look at people, places, and knowledge from a different perspective. I was just able to squeeze my way into the trip as I took the last spot, but I have come to the conclusion – If you are in a doubt, choose what excites you!

Dannke schön!



The end and the beginning: Quarter 3 to Quarter 4

Yes, the third quarter just ended, and it couldn’t have been timed better: right at the sweet spot of warm spring weather! After slogging for 2 weeks in an attempt to achieve good grades, the new quarter awaits with fresh new hope and a plethora of classes to attend and clear. With just a weekend between the end of the previous quarter and the start of the new one, the transition had to be quick, like life as a student at TU Delft. In my specialization of Intelligent Grids within Electrical Power Systems, the number of relevant courses are significantly higher in Q4. I personally believe it is necessary to plan new beginnings, however crude it may be. So here’s how I plan to tackle the onslaught of courses and assignments!

1. Plan to make proper utilization of time in between lectures:

Down to the pen.

Often, we have a couple of hours to spare in between two lectures. Rather than productive use of the given 2 hours, I used to spend it dilly-dallying around, either socializing or checking my social media profiles aimlessly. But with assignments to complete on a regular basis, the two hours give a perfect slot for me to cplete one module of an impending assignment, and reduce my workload at the end of the day!

2. Meal-Prepping:

Keeping ’em cut and set!

Meal prepping is a godsend for students living on their own! Once you figure out what you’re going to eat for the next 3 days, you choose one weekend to cook food for the next 3 days in advance, or cook a large batch of your favourite curry. This is especially relevant for Asian and Indian cusines as they have an extensive prepping situation leading to more cooking time. Meal prepping also helps you ease your weekly grocery shopping-you exactly know what you want! The only downside being, it is not very healthy, so if time is available, I’d still prefer cooking for each day.

3. Meditation:

Inner peace, just like Po from Kung Fu Panda!

I can personally vouch for this, meditation has far reaching benifits. While one may consider meditation to be wasting 10 minutes a day, those 10 mins help yuo focus for the next 6 hours if done regularly. I have been trying to get into the habit, like I had before, and it feels great!

4. Gym and Music classes:

This quarter I have also chosen to enroll in TU Delft’s Sports and Culture’s offerings- the gym and the Ukelele classes. While I always had interest in learning Ukelele, this was an opportune moment to let out some of the stress and pressure studying for continuous periods can make one feel. Who does not like a few chords and a quick jam? My decision to join the gym was for a similar reason: while studies are important, your health is foremost, both mentally and physically. Keeping oneself physically active improves blood flow, reduces physical stress and allows for a good night’s sleep, something one should never compromise on.

The key thing behind such rules and planning is a degree of lax. Our schedules often are volatile, and so should our planning, to an extent. Its okay, if I miss my gym day once, or I do not get a good night’s sleep for a day. These are long term goals, and I believe in them. This is how I plan to conquer, how do you?

How to challenge yourself – TEDx Delft

This past week was a very exciting time, as a team from the university organized this year’s edition of TEDx Delft at the Aula Auditorium at TU Delft.  This being the 6th edition at Delft, has had prominent people lighting the stage up with their ideas and prompting discussions which we, as a society, should hold. The theme for this year – “As a matter of faith”,  sounded very intriguing, and so I chose to attend the event! The fact of a student early-bird discount only affirmed my choice, and I believe it was a very sound decision from the organizers to attract future engineers, as they design tomorrow’s world.

TEDx Delft 2018, taken by Krishna Thiruvengadam (

The entire evening was planned out, to my surprise – beginning from 4PM, right until 10 in the night! The very first talk was given by Arjen Kamphuis, who affirmed our fears about the lack of cyber-security and its far-reaching consequences. He also encouraged us to think of security as a personal issue, and how to protect oneself online.  It was followed by an inspiring speech by Vreneli Stadelmaier, who showed us the deep-rooted effects of the imposter syndrome, how it has repressed women in the current workplace, and how we can identify the parrot inside our head feeding us lies! It was followed by a brilliant vocal+guitar performance by Semimo.

While I could go on and on about all the events, I would like to mention the few that really struck a chord with me. The second half, which started after a scrumptious spread of innovative vegan food, go everyone on a happy note. Only to be crushed by the reality in this presentation by Jonathan Schoenmaker, who talked of his experience with years of depression, and how his friends helped him fight it. As an international student living 7,500 kilometers away from home, it is very easy to fall into the vicious trap of self-loathing and depression. This is where the support group of your friends comes in. As someone who has personally gone through a phase, helping my mates who might go through the same was why the presentation caught my eye.

The other presentation which caught my curiosity was on the shortfalls of AI by Dr. Mata Haggis-Burridge. As a game developer, he has developed a knack for finding solutions and patterns faster than an average human. AI, which has infiltrated most of our lives, often does not deal well with outliers, who are either really good or really bad at what they do. How do we develop a new set of rules for AI of the future to be inclusive, free from racial and social bias, and  create a better future was the crux of his talk. As an engineer, the social aspect of technologies we use is often overlooked, despite it being a major, if not the most important part of the technology.

After a night which sparked a lot of conversations, this was one night one should not forget. Not because how grand it was, or how accomplished the speakers were, but because the people who were up on the stage wanted to make a difference to our society for the better.  Isn’t that what all of us want to do, in our own way?

Where Sparks,Arcs and Lightning are Commonplace

If you are wondering about the title of this blogpiece, I wouldn’t be surprised. Why would anyone intentionally want to simulate a lightning, especially when we are supposed to protect ourselves from one? This is one of the many questions answered in our trip last Thursday(22/2/2018) to Arnehm.

Organized as an industrial trip, we visited two industries located in the same energy park- DNV-GL and TenneT. DNV-GL has a High Power Laboratory there, which was previously under a company called KEMA. Around a 15 minute walk from their office was TenneT’s headquarters, where we attended an information session on their ambitious new project. Unfortunately,I can’t provide images from inside the actual tour because of security reasons.

Walk between the companies. Courtesy-Neils de Winter


At Arnhem. Courtesy- Neils De Winter

After leaving from the TU Delft campus around 8:30 AM, the distance to Arnhem took around 1.5 hours. Being inland, it was much colder. But the excitement in everyone’s faces was visible, as we were about to visit one of the best high power laboratories in the world. They perform the critical task of checking all high voltage equipment, including transformers and circuit breakers, to ensure your safety even in case of severe situations. This a very critical matter as even a small piece of accumulated dust can throw away the entire system to waste. Apart from perform various tests on the equipments using their world-class technology, they also issue certifications-a credential which indicates the quality of product.

After having lunch at the KEMA Laboratories, we proceded to TenneT’s headquarters on a pleasant walk through the woods. We were enganged in a very interesting discussion on the future of energy production and distribution, and their ambitious plans in the future, including the “North Sea Wind Power Hub”, which envisions an artificial island in the middle of the North Sea to harness wind energy in the sea. Apart from informative sessions, we were given an opportunity to ask questions directly to major leaders at TenneT, which gave us an idea of how the company as well as the Dutch industry works.

While this was one of the many industrial trips we take during our Masters, I was compelled to talk about this one owing to the amout of knowledge gained in just one day. It is not an opportunity just every student is handed out to, and personally, this is my token of gratitude! Just another day as a student at TU Delft, yea?

It’s a whole new world – But are you ready?

So after a whirlwind of a quarter where I managed to accumulate 7 exams to write, I needed a much needed break. Mostly from cooking for myself and savoring that “Oh So Lovely” mom’s homemade food, I found myself heading back to India for a week, to help my parents set up my sisters wedding. It was hectic alright, but the feeling of homesickness lasts for a short duration. Here is what I did to get rid of it ASAP, and get back into my game at TU Delft!

Home country, India.

Firstly, Do not stay indoors! I cannot say this enough, as more often than not, this is why students tend to feel more homesick than they should. When one stays indoors, you are reminded of all the comforts your home back in your country provides you and all the chores you did not have to do. Apart from that, it also reminds you of conversations with loved ones, making you nostalgic. Getting some of that Vitamin D from the sun will not only help you adjust faster, but also make you realize the beauty of the land you’re currently living in.

Get out of the rut.

Second, Reduce your time on Social Media temporarily. More often than not, life is not as rosy for everyone as their Instagram profile shows. While those memes can wait, it is safer to just reduce your facebook consumption than to put yourself through self-made stories of how amazing life is for your friends back in your country. Hint-Its not!

Third and most importantly, Keep yourself busy. Keeping yourself busy might be the simplest way to quickly gel back into the society. With a load of tasks and aspirations we have with the new quarter, its only obvious to plan it out, make a proper chart and spend your time deciding how to make most of your time. You’d realize that as a process, you have become what you had been before going back home – a busy bee, and are back to normal again!

While these three are just general solutions, there are some particular cases which are not simply pushed away. If you are not able to let go of your home blues, or finding it really difficult to adjust back, you should definitely pay a visit to the student advisior or the TU Delft Psychologists at the Career and Councelling Services. They provide a more structured approach and are better trained to cater to your needs.

Wish you good luck for the upcoming quarter!

Holland blew me away

Just a couple of days ago, The Netherlands faced a burst of high speed winds coming all the way from UK.
An abnormal event of a few centimeters of snow a month ago was hot news.  It doesn’t snow much at Delft, but with the snow everywhere, the word in every student’s mouth was – Global Warming? It made life a little tough, and I had thought I had seen the worst, apart from the unexpected rains. But boy was I wrong!

Around a day before the onset, the Royal Meterological Institute of The Netherlands had issued a Code Yellow warning for wind gusts. Come hours before the inception of the wind with land, the warning was updated to code red, implying everyone to seek shelter and stay inside. I always had an itch to experience bad weather, since the tropical climates are pretty much the same throughout the year – bar the cyclones.

I was up early that morning, and could hear the wind blowing through my room, getting louder and louder. Tall trees and traffic posts were visibly swaying – quite surreal with a beautiful sunrise behind. With exams soon approaching, I began to gear up for my regular move to the TU Delft campus to study in the designated study areas for the exam. A very bad choice.

After bracing myself up with multiple layers of clothing, I decided to bike thr 5 kms from my home(what was I thinking?!). By the time I could reach 20 ft away from my apartment, I was moving the other way. A hasty decision was made worse as my spectacles flew away to oblivion right from my face!

Talking with other friends at the university indicated the real severity of the storm. One clip from the EWI building even went viral on reddit! There has to be a lot to said about the resilliance of the students wanting to study despite the weather outside. Both of these clips were posted by \u\Siarl_ . Unfortunately, the GIF’s below do not work on Internet Explorer, so you can access the given link below to view:

Link to 1 and Link to 2.


Lesson learnt: Trust the weather predictions and listen to what the government asks you to do. Or else, lose your pair of glasses and get blinded!



Nerds who changed the world

There are a few people who go on to change the world. Out of the 7 billion people currently up and kicking everyday, there are only the very few who constantly strive to change the way we live. In my personal opinion, everyone is given a chance, but some are given an easier path – education. It’s only how you choose to apply it, by embracing the inner nerd, that one can find their purpose.

I chose TU Delft to pursue my masters for this reason – in a small city which embraces students and the quest for learning, there is always something new and interesting happening.  You constatly learn something new. There are a few, who, after graduating from TU Delft, went on to achieve greatness – and I hope to follow their path. Take a look below-

1. Walter Lewin:

Dubbed as the “Greatest Professor in the World”, he was a professor of Physics at MIT, and has achieved stardom through his lectures on YouTube.  Often performing experiments in the lecture hall which are sometimes downright outrageous, he puts an edge on to his teaching methods, which add a sense of adrenaline rush, helping you cement the concepts in place.

YouTube Preview Image

He believes personally that most people hate physics because they don’t realize the beauty hidden within the everyday things we do and see. Having been born at the Hague, he graduated from TU Delft with a PhD. Only in 1966, did he move to the United States, for his post-doctorate at MIT.

2. Frederik H. Kreuger:
This may be biased, considering I study power engineering! He is one of those geniuses who somehow manage to achieve multiple stuff together during their tenure. A scientist of high voltage, he is also an author(both non fiction and thriller), and a professor emeritus at TU Delft. He went from getting his engineering degree to pursuing his PhD at the university.

By R. Statius Muller – Image by R. Statius Muller, Public Domain,

He is particularly known for his works, one of which include using large floating algae producing bio fuel. His specialization was designing high voltage cables and equipment to detect partial discharges. It is amazing to know that the high voltage lab present in our university, among the best for testing in Europe, was his work area.

3. Jaap Haartsen:
While he is not as famous as the other two names included in the list, he has played a very significant role in the development of one particular technology we now take for granted- Bluetooth. He designed the specification for the same when he was working with Ericsson at Lund, in Sweden.

Foto © Sam Rentmeester . 20160304 .
Jaap Haarstsen, uitvinder Bluetooth, Plantronics Emmen,
Delft Integraal DI // NaDelft

He graduated as a PhD from TU Delft, after working at Philips as well as Siemens. He is among the few to be recognized in the “National Inventors Hall of Fame – an organization recognizing patents on world-changing technology.

While I do believe that this university has all the qualifications to be counted among the world’s best, the output of inventors and tech-innovators  has a lot to do with the open atmosphere they foster here. They push you to your limits academically, but also allow you to pursue other activities like sports, or philosophy. The right blend between the two, is why I feel like I fit right in. A nerd, who feels at home.