UHCL future engineers, gain hands on experience in Darmstadt
With education abroad, college students can experience new places and cultures, all while earning credits toward their degrees’. Students also acquire skills that employers are looking for such as leadership, communication adaptability and teamwork with people from different backgrounds. Four University of Houston Clear Lake College of Science and Engineering students studied abroad in Darmstadt, Germany this past summer to complete the ‘German Engineering and Language’ program. This six-week program is designed to provide insights into cutting-edge German engineering technology, to improve students’ foreign language skills, and to learn more about German culture.
Trey Carsner, Ros’Lynn Charles, Alexej Gobert, and Isaiah Roque, all experienced German culture, while taking German language courses, attending engineering courses and workshops and cross-cultural competencies training. The program focused on mechanical and electrical engineering.
They completed their German language courses virtually, and then traveled to Darmstadt to complete their in-person courses and trainings. For engineers, Germany is an especially attractive study-abroad destination because it’s known as one of the leading engineering and manufacturing countries in the world, and is home to internationally known brands like Audi, BMW, Siemens, Daimler and many more.
Ros’Lynn Charles is a senior pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. She aspires to be an automotive mechanical engineer and said the program and classes she attended helped prepare her for her future career.
“You can choose which engineering track you want to follow. I am interested in automotive, and what I learned will help me when I start manufacturing things. Our labs consisted of hands on work with machines, not just learning from a textbook,” she said. “They took us to the field, to different companies, and to a track to drive cars.”
Charles said that she would recommend study abroad to other engineering students. She said it could remove them from their comfort zones, and also help them find a sense of independence.
“People can be afraid, and that deters them from studying abroad. I did not know the three other guys that went on the trip until we arrived at the airport. Three of us had been out of the country, and one of us hadn’t,” she explained. “At the beginning of our trip, the one who hadn’t been out of the country was the least familiar with traveling and public transportation. By the end of the trip, he was the one taking all of the trains by himself and able to maneuver without the rest of us.”
She added traveling with a “buddy system” in place was beneficial for them when they were feeling homesick, and for safety purposes. She said UHCL’s Education Abroad and Scholar Services did a great job lining everything up for them to be comfortable, and offered guidance and support throughout the process.
Global Scholar Adviser II Larisa Landry said Education Abroad and Scholar Services would love to send more engineering students to Germany next summer.
“The program will be available next year, and we will be assisting students. It is important for them to apply as soon as possible, because the program is open to students from all over the world, and this makes it very competitive,” she said. “It is a lengthy process and it takes time, but we provide them with support from the very beginning. We help them communicate with each other and partners in Germany, and provide them with a predeparture orientation.”
Landry added that they inform students of any mishaps that could happen, what type of travel insurance they will need, risks and more. The department likes to have students fully prepared before traveling.
“We understand that many of our students have never been abroad,” Landry said. “But the benefit of this program, is that our Germany partners provide airport pick-up, 24-hour assistance to the students, and work closely with us to provide safety to students.”
Students earn three classroom credits for completing education abroad. They must be UHCL students, and in good academic standing.
Charles wants students to know that studying abroad is the experience of a lifetime, and can be affordable as well. There is an International Education Fee Award scholarship, and UHCL’s Education Abroad and Scholar Services aids every step of the way.
“Take the opportunity. I wasn’t aware of the opportunity until Larisa Landry came and spoke to my class. I’m glad I did it. I almost didn’t go from being hesitant, but it’s definitely worth it,” she said.
For more information about education abroad opportunities at UHCL, please visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/education-abroad/