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“As a fan of German soccer, I always wanted to come to Germany!”

Around 15% of academic staff at Hof University of Applied Sciences are of international origin. Some of them have even been here since their studies and sometimes stay much longer – usually when they find a job. We spoke to Gowtham Buvalli Chikkathammaiah from India to find out what brought him to Hof a few years ago and how he arrived here. He is a computer scientist and works as a research assistant at the Institute of Information Systems in Prof. Dr. René Peinl’s research group.

Gowtham Buvalli Chikkathammaiah, research assistant at iisys,
talks about his arrival in Germany; Image: private;

What gave you the idea to go to Germany to study?

“There’s a saying that inspired me: Starting is easy, persevering is an art. As a fan of the German soccer team, I always wanted to go to Germany. Through my studies, I wanted to see if I could establish my new center of life here. When I looked at the degree courses, various subject combinations in Upper Franconia appealed to me and I decided on the Master’s degree course in Applied Research in Computer Science with a focus on Computer Vision and Machine Learning at Hof University of Applied Sciences.”

How did you get started?

“What was unique for me was that I was the only student in my semester in Hof – and thanks to Corona – I had very “intensive” contact with the professors, especially with Prof. René Peinl. He was not only a good academic, but also conveyed the intricacies of German life by being a mentor and also bridging the cultural differences between India and Germany.”

Did you already work during your studies?

“During my studies, I worked as a student assistant at iisys, which helped me get to know the research institute better. I learned the basics of the German language and had some new cultural experiences: I now understand some working methods and the way Germans deal with time, modesty, straightforwardness and so on much better than I did at the beginning.”

Were there any other stations in Germany for you?

“Yes, there was a nine-month internship at a German IT company that dealt exactly with my research topics. Well equipped, I then took up a full-time position as a research assistant at iisys in October 2021, where I am working on the INTEUM and DAMMIT projects.”

What do you particularly like here on the university campus?

“From my office window, I like to look out over the fields and forests that start behind the university.

Being from Bengaluru – the IT capital of India – it really touches me that I now get to witness the changing seasons up close. The feeling of bliss is surreal.”

Gowtham Buvalli Chikkathammaiah

I also experienced the first snow of my life in the city of Hof on March 4, 2020! Apparently there is a lot of snow in Upper Franconia.”

And beyond the campus?

“I love being out in nature here, for example barbecuing with friends or camping with a campfire. I also enjoy swimming in lakes here in the region and have already taken part in a casual soccer tournament. All these activities were privately organized. And for us Indians, food always comes first:

I’m a flexitarian and the Upper Franconian sausages are my favorite!”

Gowtham Buvalli Chikkathammaiah

I also like the old, rustic inns with traditional Franconian cuisine, where I learned a lot about Franconian culture.”

There was also a special “city encounter”. What’s that all about?

“Yes, I am particularly proud of the “International Award” from the city of Hof, which I received from the mayor of Hof, Eva Döhla. It shows that I stand for the coexistence of different cultures and countries, I like Upper Franconia very much and call the city of Hof my second home.”

Anne-Christine Habbel

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