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My name is John Wilkes; I am a network engineer, based in the midlands, England...

John Wilkes (United Kingdom), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) 26 Jun to 25 Jul 2006

My name is John Wilkes; I am a network engineer, based in the midlands, England. After spending nearly two years studying at home in my spare time, I achieved CCNA, MCSA, A+, Network+ and Server+.

I decided that the most rewarding path I could take from there was with Cisco, and next was the CCNP. Realizing how difficult it would be to achieve this via self study, I decided the best way would be an instructor led course. I browsed the internet and found a number of boot camp style courses, which seemed very good, apart from the 6 to 8 thousand pound price. That was the end of that as it was far more than I could afford.

I’d heard before about people studying in India so again I searched the web for courses in India. Straight away I found Koenig. I could not believe the difference in price, even after the cost of the course, the return flight, and the money I would spend over there, it was less than half of the UK price, and also the range of courses was good.

I emailed Koenig to enquire about booking and availability, and received a reply straight away, which was very helpful. I chose Goa because I’ve always fancied the idea of a holiday there, even though it was rainy season, I expected a few days of sun. So I paid the deposit, sorted out a visa, booked the flights, and off I went for 5 weeks. On arrival, I was met by a rep from Koenig, who was very friendly and polite, who drove me 20 miles to the capital.

The style and mentality of the driving in India is an experience, you will see what I mean, not for the faint hearted. They drive on the left(well they’re supposed to!) but I still don’t know how they decide right of way, I think its whoever is going faster! Lol, he took me to the hotel and checked me in. All ok so far. I slept for about a day then my taxi came Monday morning to take me to the training center.

All of the staff there were very helpful and friendly, in fact they often went of their way to make you comfortable. I met my instructor, and began my course, I found him very knowledgeable and learned a lot from him while I was there as well as the content from the course. I was really pleased with how quickly I was learning the topics. Everything was explained very well and there was lots of hands on labs with different Cisco equipment. I felt really confident going into my exams. In my second of the four exams I managed 100%, something I wouldn’t think possible before I went to Koenig. I kept in touch with friends and family via the internet, and I also rented a mobile phone while I was there although I didn’t use this a great deal as it wasn’t as cheap as id like.

In the hotel, I used broadband Internet for around 35p an hour. The cinema was just around the corner from my hotel, only about £1.50 and is as good a cinema as any we have in the UK, and yes it was in English. I was surprised how much English the locals could speak and understand. I joined a gym while I was here it cost me around £8 for a month, ok it wasn’t fitness first or anything like that but it had enough to go at and was clean.

I left India very pleased with what id learned and achieved, and will definitely return, maybe to do CCSP or CCVP. Hopefully it will be in the coming winter when the weather in Goa is better(It’s a rainy season now).