Mr. Saptarko Biswas, an alumnus of Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA (Batch 2013-18) received the DAAD Full Scholarship to pursue LLM in European and International Law at Saarland University, Germany from October 2018. As part of the scholarship, he will be attending a two-month German language course at Goethe Institut, Göttingen, Germany.
After the first round of online application, he was shortlisted for an interview by three panelists – one Law Professor from an Indian University, one Law Professor from a German University, and one member of the DAAD. After an elaborate interview, he was finally selected for the scholarship. Mr Saptarko was a mooter, singer and member of Training and Placement Cell during his studentship at Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA. Mr Biswas expressed his views on winning the DAAD scholarship to Akanksha Vishnoi (B.B.A. LL.B 4th Year) Student Ambassador, EBC & SCC Online in an interview.
1. Tell us something about yourself.
I am an aspiring lawyer coming from an all-engineer family. I was the first student to take admission in my batch at Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA (SLSN), Symbiosis International (Deemed University), from where I have graduated in 2018. I really enjoy legal subjects because I am a sincere believer that Law truly is the most practical amongst numerous disciplines. I am particularly inclined towards International Law. Inspired by Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, I can say that I am comfortable with unconventional ways. One thing that does support my foregoing statement is that I am an ardent Opera singing enthusiast, which I self-learned. It will not be out of point to mention that my journey into the fascinating world of Western Classical music began simultaneously with my legal studies.
2. How do you feel about winning scholarship from European and International Law at Saarland University, Germany and the two-month German language course at Goethe Institut, Göttingen, Germany, that is included in the scholarship?
It brought me immense joy when I had received the mail regarding the award of DAAD Scholarship. I feel very humbled that the panelists considered me worthy enough to be awarded the prestigious DAAD Scholarship. Being the first DAAD Scholar of SLSN, I feel very ecstatic. I am very thrilled to begin my studies in Germany!
Getting an opportunity to improve my skill in the language right at the Institut, at Göttingen, named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German poet) is almost like a dream come true. I am confident that I shall be able to make the best use of this facility, as a part of this scholarship, within these two months.
3. Why did you want to join European and International Law at Saarland University, Germany for LLM?
My inclination towards studying European and International Law began with my first college intra-moot court competition. The moot was predominantly based on international laws. After faring well in the foregoing moot, I was certain of my fundamental grasp on the subject. Thereafter, I kept on exploring various branches of International Law such as International Economic Law, International Trade Law etc.
I was always keen to pursue my post-graduation studies in Germany as it provides unique opportunities to the learners. Saarland University has excellent facilities and great academic environment, supported by qualified faculties and well stocked libraries. In short, it provides the necessary support system for overall growth of the students. Therefore, I chose this particular course in Saarland University which would help me in undertaking in-depth study in the subject.
4. What should one do to achieve this scholarship?
There is it no set formula and easy way by which one can receive the DAAD Scholarship. However, few basic points should be kept in mind. Primarily, good grades and robust academic performance are essential for any scholarship. Additionally, co-curricular activities will be helpful such as moot court competitions, research papers, internships etc. Extra-curricular activities are also taken into account, such as sports, dramatics, art, music etc. These factors also support the overall personality of the candidate in the right direction for evaluation.
For the application, the letter of motivation (LOM) is very important. It should clearly and concisely state one’s reasons for the application. Sufficient time should be spent on writing the LOM. I had started working on it 3 months prior to the submission date.
Additionally, one should try to get genuine recommendations. Recommendation from renowned personalities would not matter much unless they are willing to vouch for the candidate truly. However, that can only be established if the recommendation shows that the referee had sufficient interaction for a realistic assessment. Therefore, it is very important to get candid and genuine recommendations.
5. How was your interview? What were the questions asked from you during the interview?
Of course, I was very nervous for my interview, but the interviewees created a comfortable environment for me, which helped me express myself without hesitation. My interview was conducted in a very cordial and warm setting. I can confidently say they asked me very relevant questions.
I noticed that they were asking such questions which revealed that they had read my CV and LOM in great detail. So, it is very important that one knows their CV and LOM thoroughly.
They also asked me some questions on Germany, like the political framework and its role in the EU. They also asked me about my future plans and long-term goals.
6. Since when did you plan to pursue LLM? What are your future plans now?
I had begun planning my LLM back in 2015 itself. However, I finalized it some time later after the first moot court competition. I had felt that further studies in International Law would be required due to its immensity and its complexity. Additionally, due to my inclination in German Operatic music and German culture, I had determined for Germany to be my destination.
After completing my LLM, I plan to return to India and work in a firm/company in matters related to international laws. After gaining some experience, I would like to join the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India as a legal advisor.
7. What advice would you give to the students planning to do LLM?
I would suggest one to pursue an LLM only if they wish to specialize in a particular field of law. I would not have applied either but my readings during the moot court, which later became a habit, had influenced me that an LLM right after Law School was apposite.
I would also encourage them to focus on the classes at the law school. Even though moot court competitions, internships etc. are important, experienced teachers impart valuable knowledge from their expertise, which one may not learn while engaging in the former. I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers like Ms. Sanjana Bali who made my foundation in law very strong. Several discussions with few teachers indubitably helped me to refine my future plans. I strongly believe that the DAAD scholarship would not have been possible without the constant support and encouragement I received from Dr. Madhuker Sharma and Dr. Nelleke, and I am very grateful to both of them.