As part of inspirational story series about our project Youth Goodwill Ambassadors, the next story covers Bhaskar Mitra. Bhaskar has recently completed his Ph.D. studies at Copenhagen University.
Bhaskar is our previous YGA, currently embarking on his ambitious career path into the world. He shares his story about his life 's journey from India to Denmark, revealing how his ambition and his values have been driving him along his road of success. He talks about how Denmark has impacted his professional career and life, sharing valuable insights about what one can benefit from studying and living in this country.
What's your background, Bhaskar?
I come from Calcutta, India, and I studied my bachelor's degree in Engineering in the southern part of India. My homeland is a small sub-Danish colony before the British invaded India. I've always been influenced by the Danish architecture and mostly, by the stories I heard from people living there. I applied many times for bachelor's and master's degrees in Denmark, but it was not successful.
I was always very interested in going to Europe for studies, however, at that time, I didn't know what Europe was about. Since I come from an underprivileged family in India, I always knew that my family couldn't afford it.
I had always the fire burning in me that I was somebody, and I wanted to nurture it. I wanted to do it not on the expenses of others, but with the hope and desire that I could create my own brand and destiny.
During the engineering studies, I have had the opportunity to do an internship in Switzerland and France. By living and studying there, I've learned a great deal what the European culture is about. Also, a lot about academic and professional life. This experience in combination with great academic performance, have guaranteed me a full scholarship from University College Dublin where I have pursued a master's degree in Food Safety and Risk Management. There was also a vacant position in Denmark where I've got accepted. Thus, I have joined the Ph.D. program at Copenhagen University in 2014. I have applied once more and finally got accepted- never give up!
Why did you decide to pursue a Ph.D. in Denmark?
There are 4 main reasons for my choice:
- I wanted to get more knowledge on food functionality and innovation and I think that a PhD would have given me that. Working in the lab is a complete different story, you learn a lot more things.
- International aspiration: I always wanted to come to Denmark.
- Opportunities to grow and develop. Not in every country you can grow. Sometimes you need to leave the village, change places, leave family members and make sacrifices to catch opportunities.
- People. Everyone here is really kind, very hospitable.
Did you find what were you expecting?
Yes. You have different opportunities as you are in a unlike environment, there are also diverse approaches that you learn that make you more rational and pragmatic.I think that Denmark gave me that space in which I could grow not only mentally but also in terms of strengthening bonds with other people. Denmark gave me a platform where I could self-develop: an opportunity to perform something, bring benefits to the society and science community, and to prove something special to myself.
How did you come across the YGA Program?
I got to know the YGA program when I arrived in Denmark. I knew that there was something that I could offer, and I thought that I could leverage the YGA program as well. Not only in seeking what I think as a different individual, but also what I can do with the knowledge achieved, with different people.
What's unique about the YGA Program in your opinion?
- International exposure: meeting different people and sharing their culture.
- Insatiable thirst to understand how Danish culture works.
- Strategic initiatives where you can start exploring yourself: what your strengths and weaknesses are. Denmark as a country, and the programs mostly, never stress on what is good for you. They give you that space where you can have a self-realization on what you are good at. In doing so you not only follow your passions, you also know how your passion can work in your real life. If you don't have that kind of space, you don't grow.
- Leadership: we interacted with a lot of multinational companies and graduate recruiters. We had a great overview of how Danish companies work.
- Courage. Whatever happens you'll know at the back of your mind that you've come to a foreign land, thousands of miles away from your country and there is someone making the effort to help you finding a job here and prepare for different challenges.
What would be your last advice for students who want to pursue their studies and career in Denmark?
I think that Denmark gives you valuable resources, so use them wisely because Denmark is like fire. You could either use it for cooking, or either use it as a forest fire. There is an advantage to it and there is a disadvantage to it. The choice is yours, it has always been yours; but the resources which are not available elsewhere you'll find them here. Therefore, it's a great start, it's a great journey and it's going to impact your life in a very positive way.
The world can be transformed by the tiniest of ideas, and it all starts here.