What happens after UPSC aspirants clear the competitive exam? Well, they head to Mussoorie. Here they undergo training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Administrative Academy (LBSNAA) for the Foundation Course (FC).

Life at LBSNAA entails numerous learnings and ice-breaking sessions for civil servants. Three civil servants from different batches share their experiences on Quora.

A 2017 batch IAS Naveen Kumar Chandra reveals an interesting fact about LBSNAA. He says it is home to civil servants from Bhutan, and that officers from Maldives and Myanmar also visit for training programmes.

Manjul Jindal, an IAS officer from the 2017 batch, says a day in the life of an officer trainee (OT) begins on the polo grounds – a 2 km walk from the hostel.

The training session is followed by a good scrumptious breakfast at the officer’s mess, which is also a good time for OTs to catch up with each other.

The structured class is scheduled from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm. Professors from IIM, JNU, and Delhi University deliver subject-specific matters such as social marketing and environmental economics.

“Officers of various services are invited to deliver lectures on their experiences tied with some things we need to know,” he writes.

From trekking, hiking, and running to village visits – various activities are organised. OTs also have a chance to display their talents at various events where they practice dance, music, and theatre.

Bhavesh Mishra, a 2015 batch officer, says the foundation course is designed in such a way that it breaks the shackles of belonging to a particular service, region or cadre.

The ice-breaking sessions and the seating pattern in the lecture hall are also designed in such a way that each OT gets to know others.

“No two roommates can belong to the same service. A North Indian OT is paired with a South Indian OT. After three months of training, it’s usually the case that our best friends mostly belong to other services,” he says.

“The final day of the foundation course is heart-wrenching when everyone gets emotional,” he writes.