In the middle of the Corona pandemic, 26-year-old Hitesh Jayaprakash signed his employment contract at mi2-factory in Jena – a start-up in the semiconductor sector founded in 2016. The Indian-born student had already moved to the city on the Saale three years earlier. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering in Bangalore, he decided to complete his Master’s degree in Scientific Instrumentation at the Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences in Jena. What influenced his decision back then? What went well, what didn’t? In the interview, Hitesh Jayaprakash tells us what things were helpful for him during this time and gives advice for foreign applicants.
Originally, you are from India and completed your Master’s in “Scientific Instrumentation” here. When you are looking back: How did you find out about the study program and what helped you to make yourself at home in Germany and specifically Jena?
I found the program on www.DAAD.de (German Academic Exchange Service), a website that gives information on studying and researching in Germany. It is my dream course, I always wanted to do something with mechanics and electronics. It gave me all the options to broaden my knowledge. I chose Jena because it is less populated than other areas in Germany, I like the closeness to nature. I already spoke a little bit of German when I came. People always helped me out.
Do you have a specific contact for any questions around studying, working, job application, or your residential status? Where else did you find information?
To find out where to study and where to apply I used the information on DAAD.de. Through www.uni-assist.de I received support for my application process. My plan was to complete my Masters and then apply for a PhD. The career services here at EAH (Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences) guided me on how to prepare my CV, what to include, and what not. You can always go to the International Office and ask for help.
„Get along with your professor and your roommates.“
Studying abroad is a challenge. How did you organize yourself? Could you give tips or recommendations to other students here in Jena?
Get along with your professor and your roommates. Socialize with local people who live here because they know what is happening around and can tell you about job opportunities. I also used LinkedIn and Xing. I updated my existing profile for my job search. A classmate told me about the opening. And with the help of my professor I researched. I also need to learn more German for work. Only particular topics I can discuss in English. They motivate me to speak German, and I am taking online classes at the moment.
Recently, you successfully made the transition from university to working life. Congratulations! Has that been your plan right from the start to stay here in Jena? What aspect was particularly convincing for you?
I like the standard of living here. And there are many job opportunities. I enjoy my work that I started in January. And I will be registering with the Technical University Ilmenau for my PhD.
“Employers can help to define roles for everyone.“
In fall 2020, you won the OptoNet price for best team skills at the JENOPTIK Team Challenge. What skills does a good team player need and how can employers support that? Did the event help you with your job search?
My view is, you need to understand exactly what your role is in the team, you need to be proactive, and keep the rest of the team motivated. Employers can help to define roles for everyone. They can actively involve people, not excluding anyone, no matter what skills someone has. They can give positive attention and motivation. A can-do attitude as well as having faith in the potential of their employees and the team. The event was helpful. I met people I already knew and made new connections. It was another stepping stone to get my job.
Also in 2020, the Welcome Center Jena opened. The team there provides interested professionals with information about working in Jena. Which topics and questions would be important for you as a young professional?
For me, important questions are the regulations on how I can stay longer and get a residential permit. For others, who just finished university they might wonder what job they can do with their qualifications, what are the job requirements or how to make a self-assessment.
Thank you very much for the interesting interview and best of luck with your job!