Mountain calling – Summer ’18

Helloooo again. It’s been quite a while since I wrote my last blog, life has been pretty interesting. I finished my first year of master’s (a major relief) and then came the summer vacations followed by my internship and now back to school again. The summer vacations went exceptionally well. The perks of studying in Europe is that you can travel to a lot of beautiful destinations. I traveled to Slovakia this summer. I have a cousin who lives in Prague and we decided to take a trip to the beautiful Tatra mountains. The whole plan was to hike and explore the place. This last-minute plan lasted two nights and two days, and it was perfect.
I have traveled quite a few times to the mountains already back at home and I was still awestruck by this place. If you like visiting places, you’re either a beach person or a mountain person. And I am a mountain person. So this trip was just what I needed after the hectic year.
Day one, we hiked to a beautiful place called The Green Lake (Zelene Pleso). It took about half a day of climb uphill. En route all the way you’ll have the company of a beautiful stream flowing right by you giving you ample opportunities to click great pictures of it.

The stream en-route Zelene Pleso, High Tatras

The beautiful Green Lake (Zelene Pleso)

Day two, we woke up in the morning and we read through nearly all the hiking trails in the region to pick one of the difficult ones – Slovak Paradise. We based out of this place called Zdiar. To hike in Slovak Paradise, one would normally require to start as early as 7.30am. And there we were sitting at 9.15am contemplating if we should take the trail or not. We had to catch a train the same day too. After about fifteen mins of discussion. We decided to pack ALL our things, head to Slovak Paradise and then directly board our train saving ourselves a trip back to Zdiar. So we started with all our luggage and started the hike an hour and a half later. The weather wasn’t very promising. It was insanely cloudy and windy. As we started the trail, we saw nearly every kind of landscape one would expect – grasslands, forests, hills, rivers; name whatever you would like to see and you would have it.

Grasslands before starting the hike in Slovak Paradise

A stream flowing in Slovak Paradise before the clouds covered the sky

After hiking till about 2.30pm, we decided it was time to head back. Partly because of the weather and partly because of the trails. The weather forecast predicted heavy rains and there we were in the middle of a forest and hearing the thunders. There are so many trails in that one place. It is a national park and depending on your preference you can follow whatever trail you want. We even got lost quite a few times because we had to take detours as a result of fallen trees and landslides. Maybe if we had planned better, we’d know exactly what we wanted to see and do. But no regrets! It was an amazing experience. Someday I hope I get to take a couple of weeks off and discover the beautiful country – Slovakia 🙂

Q4 Update- The usual

Nearly a month into Q4, I realized how quickly the time went by. It feels like it was only yesterday that I finished my exams and went to my much-awaited Amsterdam trip. But that is how quickly time goes, thanks to the quarterly system.

This quarter has been exceptionally busy. Four courses at hand. And thanks to lab assignments every week, it has been three weeks since I have been at home on a weekend! But nevertheless, it is fun to do it.

When the library is your home for the weekend

The days have been really warm and it is a privilege. But nevertheless, its always great to have a sunny day after the rains. Everybody is in the summer mood, laying on the grass enjoying the sun, soaking up some Vit D, having a barbeque outdoors, etc. The sun sets only between 21.00-22.00 hrs. I never thought I would say this, but it does get really warm here.

Rains after really warm days. Some relief!

The month of May marked the birthdays of three of my friends within a span of two weeks here in Delft. So, the excitement seemed to last for quite a while. Planning their birthdays brought some fun into the monotonous life. Having done this, a realization struck me. Being so far away from home in a different country alone has its own downsides that go unnoticed. It is important to have friends, a support system, a social life to help you get through the madness. Yes, the grad life is insanely hectic, but its always good to surround yourself with people.

Keep calm and drink coffee. The night is dark and full of terrors.

Other than this, eating and sleeping is still a luxury. Classes starting at 8.45am are still a race against the clock. The deadlines are never-ending. No better way to describe the situation than the following GIF:

The calm after the storm – Post Q3

The blog couldn’t have a title any better than this. The best part of Q3 exams coming to an end were seven days of sun (20+ degrees). Believe me when I say that it is a privilege. 19th April 2018, marked the end of a strenuous quarter in all the three quarters I have seen at TU Delft. The shortest one with the most courses, I couldn’t be any more grateful that it was over. Me along with  my friends marked the date 21st April 2018. We were so sure we were going to utilize the weekend to the maximum and we did. A trip to Amsterdam- this was our silver lining. Something to look forward to during the exam week. Eight months in this country and this was my first visit to De Dam.

Iamsterdam, Museumplein

Wandering the streets of De Dam

The time came to plan the visit. After an endless discussion of “Let’s go, but I don’t know what to do in Amsterdam” we finally made it there. Spotted tulip fields on the way. It is a breath-taking sight. They’re definitely on my bucket list now. We finally reached Amsterdam, many of the things didn’t go as planned, but it didn’t matter. We were all together and we were having the best time wandering the streets(8-9 hours), enjoying the sun, feeling all touristy, cracking lame jokes and clicking a LOT of pictures!

Normally I am the kind of person who would rest for a week after a one-day outing. This time I decided to be more adventurous and planned a visit to the Delft center on King’s day. The crowd – different shades of orange. An endless sea of people partying, celebrating the King’s Birthday with music, drinks, and food. However, the celebrations are much bigger in Amsterdam, but I will make a trip next year. If you happen to be in Delft, I would highly recommend a walk to the Church Square in the city. Probably going to the top of the church would also be a great idea to see the city celebrating (unless you feel dizzy climbing the narrow spiral staircase for at least 10-15 mins; if you do, then you do need some recovery time when you get back on the flat ground).

Koningsdag Festival, Delft

The amazing View, Nieuwe Kerk

All in all, the two weekends out satisfied my appetite for a long time now. I won’t be heading out again soon.As usual, it has hardly been sunny this week. The weather can be best explained by the meme that follows.

Adios, until next time!

Know thy Courses (Telecom, Architecture and Business Models) (Part-2)

(Continued from previous post…)

Know thy courses ( Telecom, Architecture and Business Models) (Part-1)

Well, I am writing this blog halfway through this course, so the information is first-hand. The speakers that I am going to mention next have provided very updated information related to the latest technological innovations in the field of Telecommunications but they did not have assignments.

Mr. Eric Smeitink who is also from KPN and is associated with the University talked about Strategy, Spectrum and 5G. This lecture started with an introduction to competitive strategy and how this can be applied to look at the challenges faced by the telecom operators. He also covered the basics about the usage of the radio spectrum and then moved on to a hot topic – 5G and the vision of having self-driving cars in the near future.

Mr. Ton van der Knaap is a Senior Process Architect at KPN. He explained what a process architecture is, why you need it, how an effective process architecture can be created for an organisation, the challenges faced while implementing a process architecture and the guidelines to cope with these challenges.

Lecture on “Artificial Intelligent Processes for People”

Mr. John Hoffmans who works at KPN talked about the Principles of the Telecommunication Transport Networks. It provided an insight into the different planes of a transport network, how a telecom company earns money by selling transport services and characteristics of these services like QoS and availability.

Lecture on “Impact of Emerging Technologies”

Another very interesting lecture was on the Impact of ‘Emerging technologies’ like artificial intelligence and Internet of Things on the business and society. Mr. Peeter Maarten Westerhout , from TimeLabz discussed how today’s Emerging technologies would determine tomorrow’s world with very captivating examples.

Have you heard of WANNACRY? I attended the session given by Mr. Hong Gie Ong from CapGemini. The session took us through a number of topics starting from the importance of network security, how the technologies in our daily lives expose us to cyber threats. A number of real-life examples made this lecture fascinating as well as a scary experience. It made me realise how vulnerable we are because of the internet.

KPN is accelerating innovation by conducting proof of concepts of new network technologies and service concepts in its Technology Labs. Mr. Frank Mertz who works at the Technology Labs talked about the how to choose the relevant ideas and take a decision on which topic to work on and an overview of the most interesting topics is given. He spoke about the aspects that together help in making a decision as to whether or not to introduce a new technology.

Managing the telecommunication technologies, infrastructure and services are an essential part of exploiting and monetizing telecom assets as a commercial service provider. Mr. Tim Daeleman, brought us to terms with the importance of ICT Management – what is managed, and how it is managed. It further gave an understanding about how the ICT Management functionality would add value to the customers.

Every speaker is very experienced in the field that he is talking about. The course is not just about studying theory. It brings you up-to-date with the latest innovations in the industry. Every year, the content is updated and hence, we, as students are more aware of what is happening around us. The assignments are a mix of easy and challenging, but they give you a platform to be creative. Especially the value case assignment gives you a chance to put forth your own ideas to find a solution to an existing problem. Now I know that was a LOT to be written down in a blog. But I personally have learned a lot of things from this course and it has instilled a lot of interest in me in the field of Telecommunications. So it would be a great idea to take it up when the opportunity is at hand.

Know thy courses ( Telecom, Architecture and Business Models) (Part-1)

Six assignments, one presentation and a grade- that does sound like an online game, right? Well, what I am about to write about is no different from that. Quarter 3 came with an overload of course work. However, one of these courses (ET4034 – Telecom, Architecture and Business Models) was a relief among the sea of endless work. I decided to write about the course primarily because it is interesting (and because it doesn’t have a written exam! *bliss*). Jokes aside, the course is very informative and involves a team of 16 lecturers, all coming from various parts of the industry.

The course was initiated by Dr. Prof. Ir. Nico Baken in 2001. He even took the time to take a session and shed light on the concepts of Holarchies and Transector Innovations. It touches upon the philosophical aspects of leading a good life and how there are challenges that are global and how they impact the society and the economy.

Mr. Edgar van Boven giving the first lecture for the course

Mr. Edgar van Boven and Mr. Walter Knoop are the responsible instructors. The first lecture was from Mr. Edgar. He spoke a great deal on The Past, Present and the Future of Communications. It shed light on the difference between business cases and value cases. He effectively pointed out that the world now needs more value cases than business cases. The lecture concluded with the first assignment on developing a value case across the borders of sectors based on the current needs. The value case will include a report and a five-minute pitch presentation to a live audience.

Mr. Ramin Hekmat, who is working at KPN talked about Graph theory. He emphasized on how the study of graphs can be used to design the telecommunication networks. After following the course in Networking and Performance Analysis in Q1 and Q2, this lecture was a wonderful treat to recollect the concepts learned previously.

Mr. Samuel Pronk talking about Real Options

I have worked at a company for three years and have always wondered what factors go into investing in a project. The side of the company making the “big” decisions was always a grey area. Mr. Samuel Pronk who is a coach at Krauthammer and takes great pride in providing client specific trainings talked about this aspect of investments. He spoke about Real Options. It explained the different topologies used in deciding about an investment. Having an overview about this makes you a more rounded engineer. It was a very interactive session and is a must-attend irrespective of having taken this course or not.

Lecture on “Content Delivery Networks”

Mr. Ruud van Bovenkamp from KPN gave a talk on a very interesting topic called the Content Delivery Networks. All of us have used the TV (IP-TV) or the internet to watch movies or shows that we like at some point or the other. This lecture gave a clear picture about the components, the architecture along with topics such as quality of experience, popularity distribution and bandwidth-storage trade-offs while streaming any video content over the internet or the tv.



The Humble Abode (Renting in NL)

Just a picture of my new room because I love it.

Rent is what constitutes a major chunk of your expenses when you’re living here in the NL. However, knowing that there is a possibility of receiving certain rental benefits is a real game changer. When I started digging about this, the information I found wasn’t really clear.  So, I decided to write it all down in this blog.


The Dutch Government provides the rental allowance to people if you satisfy certain conditions. The following link will be helpful to check the eligibility criteria.

The whole process of getting the allowance is a little time consuming and a tricky one, but patience bears the sweetest fruits. You would receive approximately 50% of your base rent as allowance. You pay the full rent first and then you receive the allowance from the Government into your bank account. You first check your eligibility for the allowance and then go ahead with creating a DigiD for yourself on Once you apply for the DigiD, you will receive an SMS and a letter by post (that is what I received in 2017) giving you an activation code that needs to be used to activate your account within five days. If you fail to do it on time, you need to repeat the process again.

Once DigiD is activated, you fill in the form on the website as per the numbers that are given on your contract and wait. It is be noted that you will NOT receive any allowance for your gas/water/light/internet usage. So, don’t include that amount in your application. It usually takes long (took me about four months) to get the whole thing processed for the first time. You could be asked to personally visit the tax office with a set of documents and submit it after which the application will be processed.

If you move, you submit your address change at:

It is forwarded to the to the tax authorities. Further, you will have to submit a change in the rent again but this time it will be hassle-free.

P.S: Always check your postal mailbox.


The Quarterly-Life @ TUD

New Year’s over and the Quarter 2 is almost coming to an end. Time passes by so quickly. The very first day of the quarter, you are all enthusiastic about a new beginning. It’s a fresh start. You attend all your lectures, do all your chores and life seems good. Within a month or two, you’re already prepping to write your exams.

This is the story of every student who has probably been in the semester system previously. You will always feel that the examination comes in so quickly! There is no time to take a break in between. If you need to score well, you need to be consistent with your studies. That is the case everywhere, but here, it is more fast-paced because of the quarterly system.

TU Delft is one of THE best places you could study in. The emphasis is on self-learning. The amount of effort that you put into learning a topic will determine how good you are going you will be at it. Every lecture is for two hours with a break of fifteen minutes in between. Lectures will be recorded so that you can go through it again if you didn’t understand it the first time. Lecture slides, homework, assignments, extra reading material, everything is made available on Brightspace. Good use of these materials will help ace a course easily.

Dept of Electrical Engineering (EWI)- TU Delft

A week before the examination is the study period. There are usually no lectures during that week. There are plenty of places on the campus that are open during the examination period to enable students to study in the college. The library is so far, the most popular choice of study, it will be open until 2am. But if it full, you could always go to Aula or EWI to study during the day. EWI has tables in the cafeteria, the ground floor and there is a study hall on the second floor. Recently, it has been decided to open some of the lecture halls during the exam period.


Library- TU Delft

These are the few things that you need to know before/after you have decided to come here. All is good, but I must mention that it takes a lot of consistency in studies to perform well in the exam. You need to be mentally prepared for that kind of work once you are here. It is not going to be easy, but it’s not impossible either.

(P.S The next article will be something more cheerful because exams will be over! Good luck studying!)

Winter Break

With almost a week left for the year to end, the whole of Delft is quiet. Two weeks of vacation has managed to get every single soul out of the city. Foreseeing this, I decided to go see the Christmas celebrations in Cologne and Brussels. I must say, the whole of Europe has amazing train connectivity. The trip was totally worth it.

Christmas Market- Cologne, Germany

Cologne has one of the world’s most famous Christmas Markets which is open until the 23rd/24th of December. The HUGE Christmas tree with every inch of it covered in lights leaves one dumbstruck. The aroma of the deep-fried food, the mulled wine, and the music can lift anyone’s Christmas spirits. A word of caution- none of these food stalls accept a card, so keep cash handy. The market has a lot of pretty Christmas souvenirs to take home. The weather being cold, beautiful handwoven woolen scarfs, caps and gloves that are for sale tempt your soul to buy them.

Christmas, however, is a family holiday and most of the places shut down around that time. This is the case with the whole of Europe I believe. However, all the stores, museums resume activities again the day after Christmas. It would always be wise to plan a trip bearing this in mind so that you aren’t disappointed when the activities are shut down.

Chocolate Manneken Pis and the gorgeous Waffles- Brussels

Post-Christmas, I had the chance to visit Brussels and Antwerp. Both the cities left me in awe of their beauty. Brussels has almost every tourist attraction at a walkable distance from the city center. The most amusing place for me was the Manneken Pis. It is basically the statue of a boy who is peeing into a pond. He is dressed up in various costumes. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you that there is an entire gallery that houses all the costumes that he has been dressed to date. The neighborhood of this statue is filled with waffles stores. It would be a crime to not try it. It is food for the soul.


Grand Place, Brussels

Antwerp managed to make it to my list of the best shopping destinations. The street just outside the station is a shopper’s paradise. You will find probably every possible brand of clothing and a wide variety of choices for food too. The Thai wok just outside the station is a must-try food. (P.S the quantity  is too much).

With these three places, my short trip came to an end and I am all geared up for the upcoming year!

Winter is Here

My hyper-excited self, seeing all that snow!

If you follow Game of Thrones, you know what I am talking about. Only this time, it is literal. One week ago, one of my friends told me that it is going to snow the next weekend. I tried to hide my excitement just so that I wouldn’t jinx it. Even if it were to happen, I expected it to be just a light shower. Just sprinkle some magic all around and vanish. Nevertheless, I was still excited!


I woke up (for the first time) at 8 am. I took a good look outside the window and went back to bed. It was just another day when its cold, the sun is not out, you have high hopes of seeing snow and ended up feeling a little disappointed.

11am, I woke up again, looked out my window when I noticed the shower. After a week’s confusion between whether its snow or hail (aka snoil), I had to confirm. I put my hand outside and I had snowflakes on my palm! I had seen snow earlier but had never seen a snowfall. It was an enthralling sight. After making plans with a couple of friends, we suited up and headed out. Oh boy! I was dumbstruck by the view.

Partners in crime.

Braving the cold, we reached the road in front of the EEMCS faculty. The sky wasn’t to be seen anymore. Snowflakes everywhere, going into our eyes and mouth. Hands were bone-chillingly numb. However, it didn’t succeed in hampering our spirits. After a battle of throwing snow at each other, we walked to the Library. A breathtakingly beautiful sight.

After realizing that our shoes were drenched in snow, we decided to head back home and ended up stopping in the middle of a road for a picture (don’t ever try it). Finally, after treading in the snow for another 10 mins, reached the room and the first thing I did? Go sit next to the radiator and wait for all the senses to return! The first winter in Europe, the first snowfall in a lifetime-it was an amazing day!



First Impressions

August 20th, 2017, I was finally in Amsterdam! A bright beautiful Sunday morning when the shuttle bus picked me and a few other students on the first trip to the campus that day. The entire experience was fascinating, weird and hard-to-believe. After about 45-50 mins, we reached the campus of TU Delft. All the images I had seen on Google were right in front of me. The dream had turned into a reality. My name is Manasa. I am from India and TU Delft is my first experience across the world away from home.

Moving to a new place is just as scary as one can imagine. In my head, I visualized a hostile environment where I was the lone Ninja fighting the world. Being my skeptical self, I was genuinely surprised by the way it all turned out. The beauty of the vast pastures of land with cows, sheep, horses, and windmills blew my mind away. I was still a little anxious about interacting with the people here. Once I set foot on campus, my anxiety faded eventually. Europe had already won me over and I knew it was going to be the beginning of something good.

Post a warm welcome, the volunteers helped us out with almost everything from unloading the luggage to dragging it across for registration and leading them back to the bus to be
taken to the housing- they did it all. People giving you a smile and greeting you as they walk by was something that wouldn’t have happened back home. I have to mention that if you’re on a cycling lane, people will shout out to you and ask you to move away instead of ringing their bell ( ringing the bell at someone is considered rude I believe, never seen anyone actually using the bell).

The first week came with a warm weather and a lot of work-unpacking, settling in, shopping and more shopping. It took a while to get used to the sun setting at 9pm in the night. On a couple of instances, I have forgotten to have my dinner because it was so bright outside. As for the weather, I am from a really warm country and Netherlands’ warm was still a little cold for me, so I always had a hoodie on. Since I couldn’t handle the cold, sitting under the hot sun made me so happy and that is something I wouldn’t have done back home.

I knew Europe was going to be beautiful but I did not expect people to be so polite and friendly. That has definitely been the highlight for me so far. I figured out one thing for sure, no matter how prepared you are, your initial opinion will change after you reach here, for the good. The initial fear and the anxiety will go away and you will like this place.