UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands

The teaser is out- 18th ISCOMS 2011

18th ISCOMS 2011


Hey, this is not a place where you can find out what ISCOMS is, or where it is conducted, or when it will be held the next year. This is also not a place where I am penning down my experiences for the 2010 conference.
This is a place intended for the Indians, (yeah, only Indians!) to help them with the preparations once they are selected for the conference. Given our burden, planning a trip and getting done with the formalities can be exhaustive, and more so, when you have nobody to tell you how to go about it. I am just doing my bit, so that you do not face the anxious and tough times, the ones which I faced. I seriously hope it helps.

First of all, if you're reading this far....I know you've been selected for a presentation!
CONGRATULATIONS!! You have been selected. Come On, rejoice. Party. :)

The first thing that hits you is: FINANCES!!

# Go and meet your Dean. Ask him for finances. This is an honor you bring to the college.
( Most colleges give something -my colleagues got Rs. 5000 from their colleges. But, if your place is a regressive place like mine, be prepared to receive lots of assurances but not a single penny. Just be prepared.)

# Contact your College's Alumni Association. They are quite supportive.
(One of my colleague managed a sum of Rs. 25,000 !! Yeah. They can be very helpful, provided you do have a functional alumni association. Unfortunately, I did not have one.)

# Now, let's get serious. Contact, NO, Send your application to the ICMR. Since Jan.2010, they give travel grants to students also. They'll require you to take an Air-India booking, which might seem very costly, but they provide you the complete funds, and the registration fees too. Get LORs from your guide, and one more person, and apply. Remember: Deadline-3 months before the conference dates.

# CCSTDS - Yes, this is another place to send in your application, But it is quite depressing to find out that they do not give any preference to students, and the best CVs are chosen for the grants (amongst the professor level, and lecturer level and completely insignificant people like students.) So, do not put all your hopes on this organisation, solely.

# ISCOMS Travel Grant - Yeah! I forgot to tell you about this earlier. The organization has its own travel grant, which is an amount of 200 euros.

#The key: Behave like the neediest person in the world. Otherwise, they'll rule you out. So, you can go up like this: 'This is indeed an honor for being selected for the conference, but am sorry, I won't be able to meet the expenses and henceforth, would not be able to attend the conference.' 'Though, I would have been glad to to attend it, but due to financial restrictions, I won't be....'
I think, you got a hook at what I am trying to convey. ;)

That's AALL what I have come to know about Finances.

Now, About FLYING !!

Make out an itinerary for the trip. Pleaase, If you're going so far, please, take the time out for visiting some nearby places, i.e. the Schengen countries. Make out a plan. A rough one. And, decide the dates of departure and arrival.
Once, you're done. Book the airlines as per your luxury.
Believe me, how-so-ever reputed an airlines you chose, you're bound to get the panics of the turbulence, or the mid-way air-falls, or any damn thing. Each flight I board, I pray to God. ;)

Let's Go to VISA !!
Schengen Visa is very very easy to get, since you've got this invitation letter from ISCOMS.
1. Don't worry about which visa you get: Business/ Travel !! Coz, its their headache, not yours. ;)

2. Be ready according to the Business Visa checklist. (The documents!) DO NOT waste money on travel agents. Schengen Visa is one thing you needn't pay extra for. If you think you won't be able to appear yourself for the application procedure-->> Can your Dad/ Mom go? Can your brother/ sister go? Can your good friend do this for you? If answer to all of this goes to a NO, then, finding a Travel agent is the only option you have. :)

3. The application procedure- Get your documents ready (as per the Business Visa Checklist, only because it is better to be prepared, in case they ever ask you for the finances) There isn't any formal interview. They just check the documents, and during this procedure itself, they'll ask you what is the purpose of going there, for how long will you be there, do you have the tickets booked, what will be your itinerary like, will you visit some other schengen countries also, If yes, then which all, and for how long. If you answer this, you are through.

4. The Application fee. Submit the fee. (Do not pay for the SMS services. You anyways get to know your application status through net. SMS service adds nothing more to it. You unnecessarily pay 200 bucks for that.) Now, The Netherlands embassy does not charge fee for VISA to a Scientific Researcher. Claim for Refund. And you are one! SO, Write down a mail to the Netherlands Embassy, and ask them to consider your case for refund of Application Fee. (We did it after we came back to India, And we got the entire amount back!!)

5. The cover letter that may be of use:

Netherlands Embassy, India
6/50 F, Shantipath
New Delhi

Reference: Issue Of Schengen Visa

May 10th 2010

Dear Sir/ Madam,

This is to inform you that I, (Name), submit my visa application, for attending the 18th International Student Congress Of Medical Sciences (ISCOMS), which is being held at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) at Groningen, Netherlands from __th to __th June , as a presenting participant.

I, hereby, forward this application, along with all the required documents, for your consideration for issue of visa.

Kindly grant me a Visa, for my stay from __th June 2011 till __th June 2011, in Netherlands and France.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely,


6. For proving your financial ability for the stay, Add a sponsor letter from your father/ gaurdian. A sample:

Netherlands Embassy, India
6/50 F, Shantipath
New Delhi

Reference: Consent for Sponsorship

May 10th 2010

Dear Sir/ Madam,

My daughter, _________, a medical student of University Name, who is presently (Year of College), (Name of College), has been invited to present a research paper in the 18th International Student Congress Of Medical Sciences (ISCOMS), which is being held at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) at Groningen, Netherlands from ____to_____.

I, hereby, consent to sponsor him/her and bear all the expenses (lodging, boarding, traveling etc) incurred during the trip. I have no objection for this trip, from ____ till _______.

Please find enclosed the documents required to prove my financials. *keep the ITR -3 yrs copies ready/ Bank Statements-6 mnths ready.

I request you to kindly grant her the visa. 
Yours Sincerely,

(Father of ......)

Phone No.

7. For Visa, you need to have your Tickets. Get them asap. (coz they'll be cheaper) ;) If you're applying for ICMR, get the Air India ones. Coz, they'll not negotiate on this aspect.
And your Travel Insurance- take the one which is cheapest. It ain't of much use, seriously. No use spending 200-300 more on expensive plans.

Once submitted, wait for the Visa to reach you. Believe me, you'll obviously get one. :)

Now, The thing for which you're going-- Presentation 

For Poster presentation::

The tips:
Scientific Posters

For Oral Presentation::

The format:
Oral Research paper Presentation


How to Present a Paper

Apart from presentations, Some more 'To KNOWs' are here:

* For communication at Home/India - Wi-fi is easily available @ accomodation provided to you, @ UMCG- has its own internet room-Free, @ Airport -NOO. The worst thing-Schiphol Airport does NOT give free access to Wi-fi, not even for trial (like the one at New Delhi airport) :(
Don't invest in the Uniconnect SIMs they offer here in India. Matrix is Still worth. The Europe SIMs are pretty cheap. So, If you have a GF/BF to whom you need to talk daily and longer. Go for the Euro SIMs.
Otherwise also, these SIMs are better amongst all the options.

* For accomodation at Groningen - My personal advice would be to go for the Stay with a Student. You get to interact more. No use paying twice for staying alone. One cons: The houses where these students stay might be some bit distant from UMCG. But, believe me, Groningen is such a town where no place is beyond a 10-min walk. 
And, Please...Do not use public transport buses- They are far too expensive- 3 euros for a 1.5 minute distance!!

* If you're a Vegie- Get this right- Tell them explicitly that you don't eat Eggs and you don't eat Meat. (coz, for them, vegie means the one who doesn't eat eggs, but does take meat!!) I had quite a lot of problem, and had to survive on fruits/juices/mashed potatoes!! :(

Oh Yeah, Making your CV & LOR could be tough & time-consuming too.
Have added a Sample CV, though can't help you much with LORs. Google LOR, you'll find a ton of them.
Sample CV

~~~~~^^^ I hope I answered some of your queries!! ^^^~~~~~~~~

For any more information/queries/help, you can drop a comment here.

Or, Mail either of the University Indian Ambassadors, ISCOMS 2011:
*Mail with the SUBJECT: ISCOMS 2011 (strictly)
Amitesh Khare - 
Kalpajit Banik - or
Sumit Gupta -

Facebook Page - 18th ISCOMS Promotion in India

Facebook Group - ISCOMS 2011



รυηรђyηgคl said...

Hey there..i actually went through the whole thing and well realized that all of this is AFTER you get selected..anyway, this was of great help..
and surprised to see no comments :P
Although, a great effort :)
Thank You ..

Tele said...

Yeah, it has been mentioned in the first few lines of the page, that it is for those who have been selected for ISCOMS.
Am glad you went through.
Thanks for the appreciation.

JAI said...

hi i am in 6th term.i did icmr sts last year and sent my abstract to quite a few places this year.i did an oral presentation at a regional conference in belgaum n was also selected for medicon.Now my abstract is selected for poster presentation at ISCOMS in confused it worth going there?will it have any weigtage if i want 2 give USMLE later(as it will be something related to research)?will it have any importance if i want to do pg from india only?Or should i concentrate on my studies right now and read medicine surgey etc. instead of wasting my time in all these?..Pls guide me....also how much it will cost totally i.e. including accomodation etc. in indian rupees?.....pls help me m totally confused...

Tele said...

Hey JAI, first of all congratulations for the ISCOMS poster presentation.

My opinion on the questions you posed:

* It is worth going there. The experience is definitely great and it adds quite a lot to your CV.

* For USMLE, it has some clear advantages. First, because it is research presentation, your CV is strengthened. Second, APPLY FOR THE IRFs, it adds a lot.

*For Indian PG, it doesn't add up to your chances of getting a seat, but it does add up to your exposure with research, and your subsequent distant chances of promotion in departments, when in job.

* Going or not going is your personal take and priority. My vote would be for going there. Sorry, I am a bit biased. ;)

* The total expenditure I made on it: Rs. 30,000 (airfare) + Rs. 30,000 (rest) + Rs. 20,000 (on kind, i.e. A digi-cam, a mobile, shopping: which will either stay with you or you might not even need it.)

I hope it helps. :-)

ArisingPhoenix said...

Great post... very clear and elaborate :)
Good response to ISCOMS this year... 5-6 people from my college alone ... sure gonna help lot of people :D

Sucheta said...

LOVED this post Telly :)
Thanks a lot for solving a lot of my queries.

Really looking forward to going there!

JAI said...

Thanks a lot for helping me out...
thanks again...:-)

Ramya said...

Thanks so much for the advice...
Lots of help...
Looking forward to the trip across Europe n the conference!
Did u manage to get any grants?

Chetan said...

hey telly...great job with the answered all the questions in the same order in which they came in my are quite a mind-reader :)

prady said...

hey telly...good job...thanks for all the tips..

Are u comin this year too?

Tele said...

@ ArisingPhoenix - Congratulations!! :-) Glad to hear about the good number of Indians selected. Go rock!

@ Sucheta - Ohh Yeah...You'll actually love it. Good Luck!

@ Ramya - Yeah, I got a total grant of Rs. 15,000 from an NGO active at my place. I hope you get much more! ;-)

@ Chetan - Was pleased to hear about your presentation. Hoping that you bring laurels. :)

@ prady - Hey, Congratulations. :)
So, ya b missing MEDICON this time round at your place itself. ;) It's gonna be fun. :)
Nopes, Didn't apply this year round. But, you'll have some extremely helpful Kalpajit, Amitesh & Sumit with ya. Luck! :)

jan said...

hey oyur info on iscoms was amazing............i am a 3rd year mbbs student at bangalore!!!could you give me your contact details.i would like to speak to you please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!i totally relate to you!!!!im a veggie 2

sanjith prahas krishnam said...

Hello!! My project has been recently selected for a poster presentation@ISCOMS. Could you please give me your contact details as I have a few questions

Tele Jane said...

@ Jan - Am sorry, Saw your comment now. I hope your experience at ISCOMS was memorable.

@Sanjith - Congratulations! I would request you to get in touch with the others selected in ISCOMS and the Indian Ambassador for this year for any further help, as due to prior engagements, I would not be able to offer much of a help.