Studying Abroad as an Engineering Student
Washington University Engineering views international study as an integral part of today's college experience. Experiencing an academic program in another country and culture can be both career enhancing and life-transforming. More and more employers are seeking graduates with international experience. Engineering students choose from a wide range of opportunities for both study abroad and international internship experiences. Programs include summer, semester, and year-long study in engineering.
"I highly recommend the study abroad experience as a part of your college education. Not only was my semester in the Czech Republic fun and exciting, it was also an opportunity to fully immerse myself in the culture and history of a country completely different from what I am used to. Although going abroad was something I had to plan for many semesters in advance, the experience of actually taking classes in another country was definitely something that has enriched my traditional engineering education. Because I went on a program that did not offer any engineering courses, there were some semesters at Washington U. in which I had to double up on my course load since many classes are offered in either only spring or only fall. However, the opportunity to take classes that would never have been offered at Washington U. was well worth the extra work. I would advise fellow engineering students not to have the mindset that it is impossible for engineers to study abroad, because with a little extra effort, you could experience an unforgettable semester that would greatly enhance your college education."
- Stefanie Berger
"I studied abroad the spring semester of my junior year in Lyon, France, at an engineering school called INSA-Lyon. At first, I didn't think that I would be able to take engineering classes in a foreign language, so I was planning to do a program in France where the classes were still in English, but I was encouraged by one of my professors, Professor Mukai, to apply to a real French school and immerse myself in the language. It worked out, and I ended up passing all of my classes! Overall, it was a great experience for me, enabling me to not only improve my French, learn more about the French culture and people, and travel around Europe, but I also met people from all over the world, from Sweden to Brazil, who were studying abroad themselves. My experience also enabled me to view my Electrical Engineering course material from a different perspective, and from a different teaching style. I would recommend to any prospective students or current students to look into the study abroad opportunities available through Washington U. and through external programs: in my experience, almost anything is possible, and the professors are always ready to help you out."
- Brian Blosser
|Chelsea in France by Lake Annecy|
"As an engineer, it can sometimes appear impossible to study abroad, but with enough planning and an open mind, anyone can have a meaningful study abroad experience. The summer after my sophomore year, I spent two months in Bulgaria through WorldTeach teaching English and computer skills to orphans. Even though I didn’t take classes, I learned so much about what it means to be a teacher and to be able to connect with my students despite the language barrier. The summer after my junior year, I spent six weeks in France with WashU’s French Summer Institute program and earned six credits of French. We all lived together in the Loire Valley in a château, but we had a host family so we could experience more of the French culture. In addition to taking classes with WashU professors, we travelled every weekend throughout the country. The second part of my summer was spent in St. Louis, Senegal studying French and living with a host family through Projects-Abroad. Senegal was so different from any other place I’d ever been, but I loved my family, tried strange foods, and learned about life in Francophone Africa. In all of my experiences abroad, I have always discovered more outside the classroom, and they have enriched and guided my undergraduate experience. I would encourage all students to study abroad whether through WashU or outside programs."
|Allison and Rhyan at the |
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
"Last spring semester I had the opportunity to study abroad at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey. I was able to take systems engineering courses in English that counted towards major graduation requirements. I found the professors to have close relationships with the students and felt very welcomed in a new culture by peers and faculty alike. The courses were challenging, but I found it beneficial to gain new insights and perspectives from working with Turkish students on weekly problem sets as well as on larger, more extensive group projects. A highlight of studying at Boğaziçi was the amazing view of the Bosphorus Straight and the beauty of the city from campus and along my walk to class every day. I lived in the Superdorm with both Turkish students and other international students alike and found it an easy environment in which to meet many new people outside of classes. Not speaking any Turkish upon my arrival, I greatly benefited from Turkish Conversation Club, one of the many activities sponsored by the school Exchange Commission in an effort to help international students get acquainted with the culture and the area. I also had the opportunity to travel during school breaks and at the end of the semester to explore a marvelous country with such a rich history. Although Wash U doesn’t have a formal program sending engineers to Boğaziçi, I enthusiastically encourage others to consider this non-traditional study abroad location filled with backgammon, baklava, and the friendliest people I've ever met!"
|Jesse and Jen in Germany at |
the Neuschwanstein Castle
"I would highly recommend studying abroad as part of your undergraduate experience, even if it is only for a week. For a week in May, I visited the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics to learn about their current research in multimodal medical imaging technology. Besides opening my eyes to a whole new application of Systems Engineering, this experience gave me a new perspective on research that I would not have gained in the United States. Research is an integral part of the city of Tübingen's culture. Due to researchers' enthusiasm, the population as a whole seemed to be very supportive of research efforts and even approached something as controversial as animal experimentation with an open mind. Although I was only in Germany for a week, the experience compelled me to pursuer my own research interest."