Sayantan with his girlfriend and her family during a trip to Velke Trakany
My name is Sayantan Roy, I am an Indian. I study bachelors of Mechanical Engineering in Technical University of Kosice. I arrived to Slovakia in august 2018. The main motive of me coming to Slovakia was the automobile industry and the university’s reputation in Central and Eastern Europe. Coming to Slovakia was my first time in Europe and it has been quite nice experience from that time. The hands-on experience of researcher and projects has always been encouraging me towards my studies. To be honest there is a lot of happening in the university as well the city of Kosice. It’s just that we need to be informed and be willing to participate.
During my academic year generally, the schedule is a bit packed with classes but we have some free time during the weekends. This was the time that I started exploring and participated in off campus events like ‘startup weekend’, language tandems, etc. These types of events have always been very good for networking and getting to know people. Though so far, I didn’t pick up very good quality of communicative Slovak but the best part is that, the people of Kosice are very well accepting and even with English I manage to communicate and make friends. Being in Europe I also visited the Geneva moto show and also did a summer course on renewable energy from RWTH Aachens University Germany. I highly appreciate the engineering technologies in Europe and under the university itself I did an international collaboration project with a South Korean university making fluid heating system. Some of the professors are really very motivating and encouraging towards the students. Namely, professor Stefan Segla, vice dean Kral who have from the very beginning highly motivating and guiding my fellow classmates and me for different projects and informing us about the innovation happening in global scale.
Sayantan with other ESN members during the food distribution day in Košice
Another important part in my life is Erasmus Student Network (ESN). Seeing the organization to be one of the most popular students’ organization in Kosice I joined it in January 2019. My networking and student life experience has improved ever since. The organization has let me make friends from all around in Europe and also shown me many of the qualities of mine that I never knew. I got elected as the cultural coordinator for next semester and organized some of the remarkable events like ‘nation to nation’, ‘distributing food among less fortunate’, ‘boosting ambition session with orphan kids’, etc. The next semester I was elected as a partnership manager of ESN Kosice. I created several partnerships including restaurants, salons, etc. which the Erasmus students could get discount with our ESN card. Finally, a few months back I stood up for the national board elections and got elected as the national partnership manager, now I will be taking care and making partnerships for all the Erasmus students coming to Slovakia.
I noticed there was a communication gap between university and students and the student life experience was missing. Therefore, with Mr. Zavacky I created an organization called ISO TUKE which will help the international students of Technical university to integrate socially and give them an amazing student life experience at the same time exploring all the innovations in the university.
Sayantan with his friend during language tandem meeting
I have been the cultural mediator for KapaCITY project for integration of foreigners in Kosice. This has led me to network more and meet with people at the same time performing social integration activities which is one of my core interests.
Though, during the COVID-19 pandemic my life has changed drastically as the university went online and there was no face to face interactions with our professors, no live events and most of the foreigners left back to their home countries. After the outbreak for a couple of months everyone was stuck in their homes but I really appreciate the Slovak government and the people, we were one of the first few countries to flatten the curve and strategically stopping the outbreak to a large extent. When most of my friends started to going back to India I also thought of doing so but as the university that time did not have any proper confirmation for the study plan I was afraid of losing an academic year. Therefore, I stayed in Kosice and currently I feel it was one of the best decisions I made.
During this pandemic I planned and started a start-up with Miss. Katarina Bajnokova seeing the needs that are expected in the post pandemic era. We also got selected for the UVP Technicom acceleration program. I highly appreciate the encouragement of start-ups in Kosice there are several organizations implementing the promotion of start-ups very efficiently.
Still due to the risk, mass gathering of people is not allowed in events which is something I miss but I hope with the planning an execution of Slovak government it will be soon that we will again lead a normal life. One step towards this is that the international students can return back to Slovakia and the classes will start in person. Some of the students even started returning to Slovakia after a few medical check ups. Though, personally I feel that the classes need to be combined form of online and in person because there are several countries which are in bad situation and for a student to travel from there can be risky.
During this time, I have been enjoying my summer holidays and traveling in different places in Slovakia. I see that in these tourist spots there is a lot of gathering which means people feel safe and are willing to travel and enjoy.
Sayantan and his father on a return flight to Slovakia from India after spending his vacation at home
I am highly worried about my family as the situation in my native city is not very good. Specially my father is in pharmaceutical business so in this outbreak situation also, he can't close or take a break and needs to serve people. In my native city the Indian government has implemented another strategy and is taking care of people in early stage of COVID-19 via online and people are getting treated at their homes. Still the situation needs to get better there because in order to save economy and political interests people's lives are getting threatened.
Sayantan with his mother and uncle during his internship at GymBeam in Kosice
Recently I started a survey on impact of COVID-19 on life for journaling a book. I started getting responses from around the world. From the survey and speaking to my friends around the globe I noticed that people in different countries have different perspective, as some countries are suffering from political imbalances and other issues overshadowing COVID-19 outbreak and some are trying to put maximum efforts to combat the pandemic. I highly expect with the pace the research and testing is going by several institutions and governments, the vaccine should be out by September end or by the beginning of October. I hope that we all can go back to our normal lives soon and recover in the post pandemic era. COVID-19 pandemic has shown us our efficiency to work from home and dependence on internet therefore reducing carbon emissions. This is a lesson we can implement in the post pandemic era in our daily lives. This pandemic had good and bad combined experiences for me but I hope we all recover from it soon.
Personal testimonies of foreigners were published as part of activities of the KapaCITY project, which is co-funded by the European Union from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Affairs Funds.