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IE Study Abroad continues to grow

Photo of Megan Nowak
Megan Nowak diving the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Photo of Emily Endicott
Emily Endicott (r) with fellow students
in Peru
Photo of Farhan Sohail
Farhan Sohail at the O2 Arena in
London, U.K.
More Purdue IE students are studying abroad this semester than ever before.

Two Purdue IE students studied abroad over Winter Break 2017, and 12 are scheduled for Spring Break 2018. More students are doing a  semester exchange than ever before. Last spring, 12 IE students studied abroad, but this semester there are 25 - more than double.

“It’s the largest IE semester exchange cohort ever," says Dr. Patrick Brunese, IE Director of Academic Programs.

Brunese also serves as IE's Study Abroad Liaison and says study abroad participation has grown because of Purdue's initiatives - and IE's push - to educate students to become globally competent. Purdue IE is committed to giving students unique experiences such as study abroad, internships, co-ops, and undergraduate research opportunities, believing such options help students grow into well-rounded 21st century engineers.

"IE Study Abroad growth is supplemented by scholarships through the university's Purdue Moves Semester Study Abroad Scholarship, making the entire experience more enticing for students," Brunese says. "Escaping West Lafayette weather during the spring semester is also attractive to some students," he adds with a grin.

The Winter Break programs included "Cultural Explorations in Argentina" (SA 10207), and "Engagement Methods for International Food Security" (SA 21252) in Haiti. Spring Break programs are planned for Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Colombia. Spring 2018 semester exchange programs will take place in Germany, Colombia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Sweden, France, Australia, and Singapore.

Why should IE students study abroad?

"Studying abroad is the most wonderful experience I have ever had and I highly courage everybody to do it," says IE student Megan Nowak, who spent a semester abroad at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. "It may seem scary moving to a new country for a semester, but before you know it, it will feel like your new home."

"One of the main things I experienced was being on the other side of a language barrier," says sophomore Emily Endicott, who spent last summer in Lima, Peru. "I gained a more worldly perspective on patience with people who are not fluent with the language. Also, this study abroad experience will make me a better industrial engineer because I realized that things that might be so obvious and customary here might be completely different somewhere else."

"Today's world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and we industrial engineers need to know how engineers from different parts of the world operate in order to bring them and technology together to solve problems in the most efficient way possible," states Farhan Sohail, a senior who participated in the Maymester 2017 "21st Century European Transportation" program.

"IEs are known for their systems mindset and way of thinking," says junior Sarah Chandler, who spent last summer in Paris, France. "Going abroad - stepping out of my culture and normal everyday life - helped me to develop my systems mindset globally."

Junior Victor Bruzos agreed the experience changed his mindset. "After two years of engineering school I had almost developed this mindset where there's only a right way to do things and a wrong way of doing things when approaching a problem," he explained. "But when I went on this experience I learned that there are so many different ways that you can do something. It was mind-expanding! Now I can use that mindset of openness or creativity to merge it with my engineering mindset."

Upcoming IE Study Abroad opportunities

IE offers two Maymester programs:

"International Internship India" (SA 59000) - joint with Krannert School of Management. Last May, six IE students joined seven Krannert students working on real projects with TVS Motor Company in Bangalore and Hosur, India, for three weeks. STILL OPEN - Interested students should contact IE Director of Academic Programs Pat Brunese as soon as possible.

"Systems Dynamics & Modeling for Engineers" (SA 10526) - Eight students spent three weeks in May 2017 in Pamplona, Spain, studying Systems Dynamics, Spanish for Engineers, and exploring Spanish engineering and historical sites. FULL for May 2018; no longer accepting applications.

More study abroad programs open to IE students are being offered for the Summer and Fall 2018 terms. Check the Purdue Study Abroad website for programs and/or talk with one of the IE Academic Advisors Elizabeth Allum or Morgan Kuryla as soon as possible to apply.

Writer: DeEtte Starr, starrd@purdue.edu

Sources: Patrick Brunese, pbrunese@purdue.edu and Elizabeth Allum, eallum@purdue.edu