Igniting the Spirit in U (ISU)

By: Shreya Santra, B.Tech Electrical and Electronics Engineer, India

Are you a food lover? Do you love travelling and tasting different cultures? Do you dream of exploring the dark unknowns of space? Or are your main aims in life to do something extraordinary for the benefit of humankind on Earth?

There’s just one solution to all the above desires- get enrolled at the International Space University!

ISU is only one university of its kind. With its 3Is approach- International, Interdisciplinary and Intercultural- it has successfully established itself as the favorite destination for all space geeks. The reputation of ISU in the space sector is indisputable. The best thing is, you do not have to be a space scientist to be a part of this outstanding organization. All you need is to have an undying passion for SPACE.

My journey so far:

ISU happened to me by chance, while surfing through the internet a year ago. I have always been interested in space and wanted to study and explore more. Yet, I never knew that such a university even existed! Hailing from a middle class Indian family, studying abroad was a far-fetched dream. But, ISU seemed exactly the place I wanted to be. Overcoming all the odds in my path, I finally landed in Strasbourg as a student of ISU MSS 2015.

I was instantly impressed by the warm welcome I received here. Students from more than twenty nations were to be my companions for the next year. It was like half the world coexisting within a three-storied building. The faculty and staff here are truly inspiring and friendly, ever-ready to impart knowledge and advice. They made ISU feel like my home away from home.

The interdisciplinary nature of ISU is what I admire the most. There is always something new to learn. The lawyers and policy makers learning technical content and the engineers handling legal matters, is its greatest uniqueness. If it was not for ISU, probably I would have never learnt about managing a space business or known about the political constraints that exist in this field. Soon I realized I am one of the youngest in my batch and this made me a bit apprehensive in sharing my ideas among the more experienced ones. But I have gradually gained confidence and now enjoy working in a team. This is an excellent way to gain more knowledge about the topics not covered in class.

The MSS program is an intensive course and we are required to work on our individual and team project simultaneously. We have a very strenuous routine which is a way to prepare us for the challenging work environment in this demanding industry. Over the past few months I have worked on various assignments and workshops on real-life situations related to Space science, policies, engineering, applications and management.

ISU has some of the best facilities for hands-on experiences, thanks to the altruistic European Space Agency. A Satellite Ground Station, a Concurrent Design laboratory, an EyasSat satellite and a Microgravity experimental box, are few of the available facilities.

My ultimate aim has always been to improve the conditions of lives on Earth using science and technology. ISU has taken me to the next step in realizing my goal. I am currently working on a team project, the Global Water Initiative, which aims to solve water crisis by applying space applications. Another of my assignments was based on monitoring Human Rights violation using satellite images. Such endeavors make me thank my stars for bringing me here to ISU.

One of the strengths of ISU is the immense network it maintains boasting some very prominent people from the space industry- many of whom are alumni. These people come from many culturs and work in all parts of the world including Antarctica! Lectures are delivered by representatives and scientists from national space agencies of different countries and we socialize with astronauts and cosmonauts. The long list of eminent personalities include Sergei Krakilev, Jean-Jacques Favier, Robert Thirsk, Jim Dator and so many more.

The intercultural and international aspect of ISU enhances the social part of our lives. We occasionally have cultural nights which give us an excellent opportunity to learn about the traditions of other cultures and taste the best cuisines from around the world. I performed a classical dance during the Indian night and everyone danced to the beats of famous Bollywood songs! ISU strives to create a culture embracing, cooperative society and we are all proud members of that community.

ISU being at the heart of Western Europe has a lot of advantages. I have had quite a number of short trips and adventures of ice-skating and skiing on my shoe-string budget, and have already visited three other countries, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Most fascinatingly, I go grocery shopping across the border to Germany! We had two professional visits to Airbus Defense and Space and SES Headquarters and are preparing an adventurous excursion to Russia in the beginning of March. Yes you read it right, Moscow, Kremlin, Star City etc.

The multidimensional character of ISU makes it stand out among the other universities of the world. We belong to the Universe! The ISU vision to have a university on the Moon and beyond will soon come true. For me, ISU has been the best thing to happen in my life till now and I look forward to an exciting future ahead.