As part of the International Engineering Program, students spend a year abroad studying and interning. Some of our students sent back these reports from their 2014 internships.
Majors: French & Mechanical Engineering
Internship: Toray Films Europe (Lyon, France)
I began my internship with Toray Films Europe with a summer’s worth of experience at Toray Plastics America. The company is situated in Saint-Maurice-de-Beynost, not far from Lyon. The first few weeks were daunting and I had to adapt to learning French technical terms. My coworkers are very enthusiastic and friendly and enjoy sharing French and English lessons with me.
The hardworking engineers here have been nothing but helpful in my integration into the company and I am very thankful for the opportunity to intern in France with a business that is well-aligned with my capabilities and experience. My colleagues gladly teach me both technical aspects of their work as well as cultural pleasantries and French ideals. To live well is to eat well, and French gastronomy is well-known to be refined and delicious. Aside from working hard, French culture focuses largely on building lasting human relationships between friends and coworkers. A firm handshake is a proper greeting each morning, and sometimes kisses on the cheeks for close friends.
Majors: German & Mechanical Engineering
Internship: AUDI AG (Ingolstadt, Germany)
I live in Ingolstadt, located in southern Germany in the center of Bayern, about an hour north of Munich. It has about half the people as Braunschweig, but still a fairly large city. To move into my new place, I rented a car to bring all of my things with me, not to mention the great experience of driving on the Autobahn with no speed limits. Through AUDI’s apartment database, I found a gorgeous place to stay. I have a very large room, a balcony, and just about everything I could possibly need.
I am working in the Research & Development Department for air conditioning systems and HVAC control. My project deals with seat selective climate control. I am researching whether or not it is possible to save energy by having air only blow onto occupied seats and maintaining comfort. I was recently able to test a car in a climate wind tunnel and, with a computer, was able to see various temperature aspects of the car such as air outlet temperature, heat exchanger temperature, etc. Being able to work in a wind tunnel was an awesome experience as well as just seeing the amount of work that goes into the climate systems of a car.
My most memorable moments have been traveling around Europe. I have traveled to Austria, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, the Czech Republic, Ireland, and all over Germany. My two favorite trips would have to be when I went to Prague and when I went to Austria to ski the Alps. Skiing the Alps has been something I wanted to do since I started skiing and was yet another one of the unforgettable experiences during my travels.
Majors: Chinese & Ocean Engineering
Internship: Offshore Pipelines and Risers Inc. (Hangzhou, China)
I work at a company called Offshore Pipelines and Risers (OPR). My boss is a wonderful, funny man who is so happy to have me here. Currently, I am editing two books he and his Ph.D. students have written. One covers the plans created by OPR for pipe integrity and the other book’s topic is pipeline construction. I also help with proposals for the company and help my boss prepare for conferences. I had the opportunity to help my coworkers with their English, once even giving a seminar on how to write technical papers in English. Working on these two books has given me a lot of knowledge on pipeline construction. It is nice to know that down the road I will be able to recognize or understand things that I had no prior knowledge of. I also like that a lot of engineering topics I have already learned show up within these books.
I have got to know the locals around my apartment, like the corner store cashiers and the pharmacists who help me when I go into the store and struggle to describe the medicine I need. I also love that the women at the coffee shop down the street helped us pay our bills online the first few times. I generally feel a sense of comfort and community where I live, which makes me feel like a real adult, not just a student living abroad.
Majors: Spanish & Civil Engineering
Internship: Geotecnia Ambiental (Valparaíso, Chile)
I am working at a geotechnical and environmental company that deals primarily with mines around Chile. I have been working on a copper mine closing project and how to make sure that the environment is well cared for and all environmental rules are followed and the community around the area is cared for.
When I arrived in Valparaíso, I had really no idea what to expect and I have many memorable moments learning the culture and exploring the country, learning about the native population and going on some great adventures like hiking, mountain biking, river rafting and river boarding.
This year has exceeded my expectations. I was surprised how very different each culture really is and just how people who are very different from you can be so open to share and understand. I was surprised by the constant warmth of people and their willingness to teach you about their language and traditions. It has definitely been a blast to learn how different the world really is and just how great it is to explore every part of it.