Stay in Pilani, Report by Jan-Philipp Kues


A few days ago, I flew back from India. It was a beautiful and impressive time! I’m glad that right at theĀ  beginning I had a network of Indian PhD students and two Germans who arrived before me. I could concern them with any questions and we met at least once a day for a leisurely exchange while drinking chai. I met many gracious people during my time in India and look forward to keeping in touch.

Before arriving at the VFAST Hostel in Pilani, I was worrying about many things, e.g. if I could like and tolerate the food which was said to be spicier and if I could feel well in the strange. My taxi driver picked me up from the airport and I was very excited about the entire trip – a lot of new impressions pounced on me. The driver took me directly to the accommodation. There, I was very surprised, because the hostel is more like a hotel in my opinion. I shared a room with Jannik for the first few days and that certainly helped to get to know each other. Then, I was able to receive my own double bed with Indian TV and bathroom. At VFAST, I met other friends and interesting people during meals. The food was good from the first day, always freshly prepared and I have well tolerated all dishes. With each meal, a variety of dishes is served in bowls and you can take as much as you want. Unfortunately, many Indian food is fried. After some time, I also enjoyed to visit some restaurants on the university grounds.

When I arrived, the five stations of the Joint Indo-German Experience Lab were all delivered, but not yet ready-programmed for production processes. In conversation with Steffen and Jannik, I learned a lot about the technology and programming of the Modular Production System (MPS) from Festo. My task was to develop a teaching concept to enrich the existing lecture with more hands-on exercises. For the integration of the learning factory, I had to gain basic knowledge about the system on the one hand and to inform myself about the topics of learning, teaching and didactics on the other hand. After the practical work at the stations, I read a great deal of literature. My workstation was either my desk in my guest room in the hostel, a desk near the workshop of Professor Sangwan or inside the learning factory room. At all places, there was LAN / WLAN and in case there was one of frequent power outages, I was able to access the internet via my mobile phone. I could discuss my results with Professor Sangwan as well as with other doctoral and fellow students. Moreover, I conducted a survey with my Indian classmates. Overall, there was a great deal of interest in my work and I have received a lot of respect and helpfulness.

In the breaks, I often went to one of the many food stalls on the site and have allowed myself – in addition to the chai – a fruit plate. Again, there were many conversations about what I do in India. My favorite restaurant is the “Vattika Resort” within Pilani, which serves scrumptious stone oven pizzas and pasta. Here were some parties celebrated.

In addition, I kept ten days to travel and could visit some desert towns in the western part of Rajasthan. I even made it to the Taj Mahal in the night train and spent the last few days with a new friend from BITS Pilani in Delhi.

I am still impressed by what I have seen and even if it was sometimes exhausting, I wish such a beautiful experience abroad to everyone.


Jan-Philipp Kues