April 21, 2023

Study Abroad Spotlight: Caroline Gilbert

Caroline Gilbert is a junior in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
ECE student, Caroline Gilbert, smiles as she stands on a staircase that is surrounded by a large snowfall
Caroline Gilbert is a junior studying computer engineering in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Caroline Gilbert is a junior in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is majoring in computer engineering with a minor in global engineering studies. Gilbert spent a semester studying abroad in Stockholm, Sweden where she attended KTH: Royal Institute of Technology.

Why did you want to study abroad?

At Purdue, I am a member of the Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE) program. As part of completing my membership in GEARE, one of the steps is to participate in a study abroad experience. Accordingly, I was excited to study abroad since Freshman year when I joined GEARE because I felt as though the study abroad requirement of the program offered valuable intercultural education and experiences that I was seeking in my social and academic life. In my opinion, college is the best time to study abroad, travel, and meet new people from all over the world because these experiences have sculpted my technical and social skills for my future. I would highly recommend participating in a study abroad program if possible!

Where did you study abroad? Why did you choose this location/program?

I am currently studying abroad in Stockholm, Sweden where I attend KTH: Royal Institute of Technology. At KTH, I am taking courses in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) program. I chose to study abroad in Stockholm at KTH for many reasons ranging from personal interests to academic interests. In terms of academics, KTH has a strong reputation for engineering, and I loved the wide variety of EECS courses available to take as an exchange student. Furthermore, I was personally interested in studying abroad in Sweden because I have family heritage originating from Sweden, and I was eager to experience a Scandinavian lifestyle. Not to mention, Sweden is the perfect place to study abroad for English speakers because absolutely everyone speaks English in addition to Swedish!

Best experience:

My best experience would probably be my spring break in Italy (which was a week ago). On my spring break trip, my friend and I backpacked our way through Italy starting in Bologna and ending in Venice. During our trip, we visited Bologna, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and Venice (Florence was my favorite)! Not to mention, travel was extremely cheap because we stayed in hostels and took $5 buses from city to city. That said, while I loved my time in Italy, I have also had countless amazing experiences in Stockholm, but it’s always nice to have a break from school!

What you’ve learned—either about yourself or the culture you’re living in.

My experience abroad has taught me a lot about my own culture as well as other cultures from all around the world. At KTH, I live in a university-owned apartment, so everyone that lives in my building is an exchange student as well. For example, I have met people from all over the world such as Chile, Dubai, China, Ireland, Germany, France, and Argentina just to name a few. Specifically, I have learned a lot about Latin American culture and Swedish culture and their differences in communication styles. In Sweden, people are very reserved and quiet, whereas my roommate is from Chile and she taught me that in Latin American culture it is very common to be warm, friendly, and outgoing in social situations. As a result, my time abroad has taught me how to adapt my communication styles to fit in with various cultures depending on the situation.

Would you suggest study abroad for other ECE students? Why?

I would HIGHLY suggest studying abroad for other ECE students! A study abroad experience can be whatever you choose to make it. You can take exciting courses that may not be offered at Purdue, travel the world, meet cool people, learn a new language, try new foods, and experience other cultures. Studying abroad is definitely feasible as an ECE student, so I would highly recommend participating!

Learn more about Study Abroad opportunities here.