The University of Queensland, Australia
Last month, I commenced an internship in Bangalore, India, with Infosys’ global internship program, InStep. In 2019, the internship was ranked No. 1 in the world by Vault and I can say without a doubt that the past five weeks have been an incredibly eye-opening and humbling experience!
I’ve had the opportunity to meet over 150 interns from all over the world, travel to 3 different cities across India and experience a range of cultural activities.
However before travelling to India, due to the limited amount of information available online I had no idea what to expect from the internship itself. For this reason, I’m sharing my experience to give you a better idea of what to expect when applying for the world’s No. 1 internship!
Before the Internship
The application process was fairly straight forward and all of the required information can be found on the InStep website’s Apply Now page. I’d recommend applying at least 3 months in advance, as obtaining an Indian visa can take quite a while.
Key Application Points:
Choose a project: There are over one hundred projects to choose from, all focusing on various areas of the company from new technologies like machine learning and robotics, to assisting with marketing, to completing business case studies. The main campus is in Bangalore, but if you choose a project from a different campus you will likely end up visiting that campus for at least a few days or weeks.
Submit your resume: This will assist the InStep coordinators and project mentors with determining your suitability for the projects you listed.
The Phone Interview: My interview was pretty casual, I talked about my motivation toward the project and some previous projects I had completed. However, some other interns have mentioned they were asked technical questions.
What to Bring?
In addition to the usual travel packing list, here are some things I would recommend bringing with you.
Mosquito spray + long, light-weight pants: Mosquitoes are everywhere! And as an Australian who usually wears shorts, this was where my packing fell short. In addition, at the Bangalore campus it is extremely rare to see employees (regardless of gender) wearing anything shorter than ankle-length clothes.
Sport shoes: Whether you’re planning on playing basketball on the Infosys courts or hiking in rural parts of India, sport shoes are a good idea.
Travel adaptors: These were the wall sockets found in the dormitory rooms. From a quick online search, it will fit Type C, D and M plugs. I recommend bringing a power strip so that you only need one adaptor.
During the Internship
The Bangalore campus is absolutely beautiful! Filled with greenery and incredible architecture, it really does feel like an oasis in the middle of Electronics City, Bangalore.
The Essentials: Accommodation and Food
Accommodation: Interns stay in the campus guesthouse, formally called the Employee Care Centre (ECC). The rooms are individually assigned and are pretty similar to twin rooms at a hotel. You’ll have your own bathroom and the room will be cleaned daily. Furthermore, the campus has laundry facilities, several gyms, a pool, a convenience store and a medical centre.
Food: There are 7 food courts at the Bangalore campus with over 500 different dishes altogether. There are also nearby restaurants, bars and cafes within walking distance from the campus.
Daily Life of an Intern
So far, most of my time has been spent working on my projects. At 9:30am I head into the office and grab a chai (tea) on the way in; at around 12pm I have lunch with the other interns and employees in my office space; and I finish by about 6pm. However, this is only my experience and the intensity of your project and the hours you work will depend on your mentor and project.
To add to this, some mentors are more hands-on/hands-off than others and not all interns have said they’ve felt their projects were as fulfilling as they could have been. For this reason, I advise you to pick a project you’re genuinely interested in and if you get the chance, talk to your potential mentor about expectations in advance.
The InStep team organise an abundance of super fun and interesting activities throughout the internship. Some examples are Bollywood dancing, treasure hunts, birthday celebrations, field trips and wildlife rescue sanctuary experiences. Although they’re mostly optional, I’m sure most interns will agree that they are some of the most memorable experiences from the internship.
In addition, during my internship we attended talks from the founder of Infosys, Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, as well as the COO, Mr. Pravin Rao and the Head of Human Resources, Mr. Krishnamurthy Shankar. All the talks were incredibly insightful and had me rapidly writing notes and quotes in my notebook.
What I Didn’t Expect
For many interns including myself, India is a very different place to home, and it can be quite overwhelming at first. Below are a few things that surprised me when I initially arrived in Bangalore.
Driving: For some this might not be much of a surprise, but I was shocked by the seemingly chaotic driving and immense traffic. For example, seat belts are only common for the front passengers, traffic lights are more of a polite suggestion and crossing the road can feel impossible at times. On top of this, you just have to accept that anywhere you want to go in Bangalore is going to be at least an hour away. Thankfully the InStep program provides interns with two free cab rides a week which makes planning travelling quite a bit easier.
Clothing: In my experience, it was common in India for men to wear ‘western-style’ clothing, for example a t-shirt or button-up shirt and long pants, and for women to wear a range of styles from traditional clothing such as a sari, to ankle-length ‘western-style’ clothing. The conservative clothing length was very different to what I was used to but was practical when considering risks such as mosquito borne diseases.Lack of international diversity: Coming from Australia which is said to be a ‘melting pot’ of cultures, it was surprising how uncommon expats were in Bangalore. This was reflected in the food diversity which had very few non-Indian options other than a few Cantonese and Italian restaurants, and international fast-food chains like Subway and Domino’s. In saying that, when you go below the surface there is an unimaginable amount of variety not only in Indian cuisine, but also within Indian cultural and religious traditions.
Why Complete an Internship in India?To keep it short, I’ve listed what I believe are the key reasons to apply for the InStep program:
I’d like to finish up with a quote from Mr. Murthy, the visionary behind the InStep program, which has stuck with me throughout the internship:
‘If we make your stay worthwhile, pleasant and enjoyable, we will steal a part of your hearts, and for the rest of your life you will have a soft spot for India.’
If you’re looking for an internship which is much more than just an internship, then I can’t recommend the program enough. It’s an entire experience that will stay with you for a lifetime, and I can’t wait to see the adventures you get up to on your InStep journey!Anastasia Laczko is a fourth-year Mechatronic (robotics) Engineering and Information Technology student enthusiastic about software development, robotics and interaction design. Her dream is to work in an innovation role where she can contribute towards designing products and ideas for the future. She is currently exploring her passion for technology and culture as an Australian Government New Colombo Plan Scholar. She has recently commenced a robotics-focused internship in India and will soon be travelling to South Korea to complete a semester abroad at KAIST. When she’s not studying or travelling, she likes to spend time on her hobbies which include art, photography and games – She’s always up for a game of chess!