Monday, September 24, 2012

Yes, You Can Study Abroad as an Engineer and You Should!

Making life long Aussie friends
Having just come back to Penn from a year studying overseas, I’ve been getting a lot of “Welcome backs!” and “Where have you been?” It’s good to be back at Penn, but it was also great to be a way for a while. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. I spent this past year studying in Australia and had an absolute blast and a half. Not only did I get to experience a new university culture and make new friends from all over the world, I got to travel A LOT. Some highlights of my time in Australia included: watching a kangaroo eat risotto while camping, picking up a lot of weird lingo and pronunciations, taking field trips for classes to weird/disgusting/cool places, and making some lifelong Aussie friends.

Studying in another country is an amazing experience, and I’d love for as many other Penn engineers to take advantage of the opportunity. Many engineers don’t study abroad for a variety of reasons especially the strict requirements of our degree. If you’re worried about requirements, I have a few recommendations to help you get where you’re going:

Me at a rendering plant--where they turn animal waste into usable products-- one of the more disgusting field trips

  1. Don’t be afraid of your requirements! Engineering curriculum is pretty standard the world over and you can likely find classes at other institutions that match up with those at Penn. If you are doing a degree with very specific requirements for each semester, start a dialogue with your professors to see if classes you will be taking abroad will match up with their classes. Professors are more than happy to look over syllabi and give you course recommendations.  
  2.  Talk to upperclassmen about their experiences. Certain places lend themselves to engineering students. Find out where they studied and what classes they were able to take. If there is already a precedent in place, it’s usually much easier to get credit for a class.  
  3.   If you know early on in your Penn career that you want to go abroad (I’m looking at you, freshman) save up free electives and non-engineering electives so that you have more flexibility in what you can take while abroad.
  4. Talk to the folks at Penn Abroad. They are a valuable resource and can help steer you to places where Penn engineers have had success in the past.
  5.  Most importantly immerse yourself in the local culture, meet new people and have fun! This is your opportunity to go somewhere you never thought you would, to try new things, and to break out of the Penn bubble, at least for a semester.

Kangaroos love risotto!
Questions for Annie about study abroad?  Contact her at if you have any questions about studying abroad.

No comments:

Post a Comment