A career in Renewable Energy
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I was born and brought up in Pune. I completed my 10th and 12th Grades with considerably  good scores.  After completing my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology Pune, India, I worked with Tata Motors for a couple of years purely for gathering an industrial experience. Having realised that I can do far better in renewable energy, I started exploring for options to pursue my Master’s in Renewable Energy Systems.

After taking GRE and TOEFL and considering my overall academic performance, I finalised Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany for my Master’s Program. The criteria which backed my decision was the ease of the visa application for the Schengen Countries, reasonable tuition fees, high chances of scholarship and my familiarity with the German language. I had completed three levels in German language from Ranade Institute, Pune which really helped me pass B1 level of Max Mueller Bhavan (MMB) externally and clear it, which was the requirement of the masters program.

In the initial two semesters at the university, the coursework focussed on the technical aspects of the energy from the sun, wind and biomass. Emphasis was also laid on the application of mathematical modelling and simulation in real life scenarios of energy generation. An exposure to the financial assessment of exemplary projects helped to clearly identify the techno-commercial constraints and improvement needed for making the technologies more competitive. Though the course was in English, I did take some subjects in German to push myself out of my comfort zone. Although it seemed a bit daunting in the beginning, it made be more aware of the technical terms and definitely benefited me when I was applying to companies for my internship and during my Master’s thesis.

I got an opportunity to work as an intern at a company which provides engineering services in the field of waste-to-energy plants. My task at W+GGmbH was to calculate the amount of electricity which can be derived from the incineration of household waste or sewage sludge and verify it using simulation programs. Not only did I learn about the combustion process, but I got a good insight into the treatment of the resultant flue gases. I completed my Master’s thesis at the company, and the thesis dealt with the improvement of the efficiency of waste treatment plants.

Life in Germany is exciting. It hardly took me a few days to get used to the climate. German study visa allows you to travel to any of the Schengen countries. I utilised this opportunity fully during my study period and explored countries such as France, The Netherlands, Belgium, etc.

I could learn many things from German culture. People respect your private sphere and they expect their privacy is also maintained. The other important thing, I could touch upon is punctuality. Yes, in Germany punctuality matters! One has to anticipate this before heading to Germany.

Talking about personal life, its initially demanding to adjust. You are living in a foreign country away from your family. Loneliness, home sickness might trouble you. But you need to consolidate yourself and move on. The best way to overcome negativity is to do outdoor activities with people from different backgrounds. In almost all of the German cities, there are ample options for „Hochschulsport“ or sport clubs which allow you try various sports. As a student, you can avail their services at very reasonable prices. Besides, you can visit museums and theatres, and travel at subsidised rates.

Its been 4 years I have been working and I would continue to work some more time to gain valuable experience before I head home. My motivation has been to gain first-hand knowledge through an international course and later contribute to fuelling India’s economic growth sustainably.

My advise to the students aspiring to pursue higher education in foreign countries, would be to get out of your comfort zones, so that you can push yourselves more and stretch your capabilities. Try to interact with as many people with different backgrounds so that you can explore and thereby learn more.

Uddhav Pawar

M.Eng. – Renewable Energy Systems
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany