Student Experiences

Thinking about studying abroad? Considering that internship overseas? Not sure what to expect? Read what Gator Engineers have to say about their international experience!

If you are interested in sharing your story, please complete a short International Experience Survey! We are interested in hearing from each and everyone of you!


C’Andre Codner Troy Halpin Noah Davis Mike Schulz Jaime Rodriguez
Ashley Papagno  Katelyn Lubke  Marissa Buck  Ruben Jean  Morgan Byerly

 C’Andre Codner

CAndre-Cannes-aviation

 

Studying abroad has been the experience of my lifetime so far. I know it sounds cliché, but I now have amazing friendships from all over the world, tried so many new things, and been to so many places I never thought possible. I also got the chance to take courses in things I’m passionate about such as aviation that is not offered at UF. I discovered new passions, and learned what it means to be an American, a global citizen, and most importantly I learned a lot about myself.
To anyone considering studying abroad, do it! Go for a year, and if not, then a semester, or a summer, or a week. But there’s something about this experience that you’ll never be able to get anywhere else. And most importantly, don’t play it safe. Take those risks and step out of your comfort zone. For me, that’s when I got the most rewarding results.
C’Andre Codner, SKEMA, France AY 15/16

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Noah Davis

Davis

Why did you apply to study abroad in Hamburg with Global E3?
With a major in engineering, a great place to continue my coursework is Germany because of their successes with cutting-edge technology in the field. Hamburg is one of Germany’s largest cities, so people come from all over the world for school and work which allows Hamburg to be a very diverse municipality. Even with the diversity, however, German’s culture is very prominent and is able to be experienced all over the city.

What classes are you taking in Hamburg?
Intercultural Competence, Mathematics 2, Technical Thermodynamics 1, German Food and Culture

What is your favorite class?
“Intercultural Competence” is my favorite class because we learn about aspects of international cultures that aren’t apparent in everyday encounters and lifestyles. I think this class sheds great light on the similarities and differences between cultures/ traditions in business and makes for great discussion in our diverse group of students.

How are things going so far?
I am still adjusting to the change from taking tests and quizzes weekly back at my home university, though my coursework is going smoothly and all of my professors are fantastic. The city has an abundance of interesting things to learn about and experience so there has not been a boring moment. I am very glad I’ve chosen to study in Hamburg and I would recommend it to all who are interested.

Originally published on HAW Hamburg Study Abroad Facebook page.
More information about studying at HAW Hamburg at: https://www.haw-hamburg.de/studyabroad

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Jaime Rodriguez

JaimeWhy did you apply to study abroad in Hamburg with Global E3?
I knew that I wanted to study part of my career, computer science, in Germany, and the Global E3 gave me the opportunity to realize my goal. I was extremely excited to see that Hamburg University of Applied Sciences was a participating institution, because not only is it in Germany, but it is also a beautiful city and perfectly manageable for an outsider.

What classes are you taking in Hamburg?
Digital systems, Databases, Software engineering, Micro controllers

What is your favorite class?
My favorite class is “Micro controllers” because it Integrates both hardware and software aspects of electronic components, which is something that I have not been previously exposed to. Also, I enjoy the lectures very much, which are given by Professor Leutelt; he is engaging and at times entertaining.

How are things going so far?
Things are going better than expected. The classes are manageable, yet still challenging, and the lectures are personal, which is a nice change. However, the best part of this experience so far, is getting to know such a wonderful group of people.

Originally published on HAW Hamburg Study Abroad Facebook page.
More information about studying at HAW Hamburg at: https://www.haw-hamburg.de/studyabroad

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Mike Schulz

Schulz

Why did you apply to study abroad in Hamburg with Global E3?
The reason I applied for the Global E3 program in Hamburg was to experience a different style of learning that would give me new insight on how to learn and apply engineering skills in a practical way. I also have aspirations to work for an international engineering firm as I would love to travel for my job. Germany is on the top of this list as they have excellent opportunities in this area.

What classes are you taking in Hamburg?
MicroControllers, Finite Element Methods, Design Team Project, German Language Course

What is your favorite class?
I have two favorite classes for different reasons: the “Design Team Project” with Prof. Abulawi and “Micro controllers” with Prof. Leutelt. I enjoy Micro Controllers because of its content and how the professor discusses the crucial elements on the controller’s usability.
In the Design Team Project I enjoy the learning style, as it represents more of a “real world” environment where people of different backgrounds and expertise come together to work on a problem. The objective is to design a new wheel chair to replace the ones airlines currently use. The passenger must be able to operate without assistance from the crew, must be able to access a window seat as well as the lavatory, and must function as a normal chair for passengers. I am having much creative fun with this one! We are indirectly working with Airbus. We presented in front of a few of our professor’s colleagues last Friday. If all goes well, we could possibly patent our work.

How are things going so far?
My classes appear to be going well but establishing good study habits is by far the most challenging part of studying in Germany. Sometimes I do feel behind in my classes but a little reading of class notes helps to alleviate these concerns. For the Design Team Project, we are ahead of schedule and this is partly due to helpful guidance of our professor. As for the language course, it is frustrating culturally to not be able to communicate thoughts and speak freely. The more I learn in the German language the more at ease I feel though.

Originally published on HAW Hamburg Study Abroad Facebook page.
More information about studying at HAW Hamburg at: https://www.haw-hamburg.de/studyabroad

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Troy Halpin

Troy

What was your best experiences abroad?
I took a 10 day road trip with my roommate and two friends from our apartment building. We went to Venice, Rovinj and Zagreb in Croatia, Budapest, Bratislava Slovakia, Vienna, and Prague. We saw so many beautiful cities, buildings, and vistas and met so many incredible people. We even met a Gator alumnus on a walking tour of Budapest!

It was mind-blowing being able to see just how rich in culture and diverse this part of the world really is. It was a perfect trip and a perfect way to close out my study abroad experience.
Any advice to students who are considering an international experience?
I would tell anyone that even thinks it might be interesting to look into it. I went in for an appointment on a whim, and ended up getting a nearly free 5 months in Austria. It has impacted my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe. The experiences and people have all been amazing. I would also recommend a program with as many students from other countries as possible. Talking to friends that went in big programs from the US, they said all the Americans stuck together. I was one of 2 Americans in an exchange program of almost 50 students, and I believe that made it a million times more enriching. Just learning how people’s lives are different, how they speak, and a bit of their languages (I can say ‘Cheers!’ in 7 different languages now) was fascinating and very fun. Plus then you have friends all over the world you can stay at when you go travel again!

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Katelyn Lubke

Lubke FlorenceMajor: Biomedical Engineering
Year: Senior
Semester spent abroad: Summer 2014
Program: USF in Florence

What was your best experience abroad?

Lubke Florence2Looking back on my experience in Florence I can truly say it has changed my view on the world and helped me to grow as a person. Going to Florence not knowing anything or anyone on the program I was nervous but excited as well. Excited to see what this city I have dreamed for so long about could offer me.

The city of Florence is very diverse and allows you the opportunity to meet people from so many different counties. I got to know people from China, Australia, Germany, and other US states. The people of this city were so welcoming and wanted you to love their city just as much as them. For me Florence became my home away from home! My friends became my family. Gelato at anytime of the day became normal. I grew as a young woman and have gained memories to last a lifetime. In the end, never judge a book by its cover until you read the inside.

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Marissa Buck

Major: Chemical Engineering2014-05-24 19.02.46
Year: Sophomore
Semester spent abroad: Summer 2014
Program: UF in Osnabruck – Understanding Engineering in Europe 

What was your best experience abroad? 

I cannot pinpoint one moment that exceeded the rest. The unique culture impacted me the entire trip and allowed for many amazing experiences with a great group of other UF students.

Buck OsnabruckThis trip definitely opened my eyes to alternate lifestyles. While Germans do not live extremely different from Americans, they do give me hope for a better future. In general, Germans have more concern for environmental health and foreign language education

I am glad I did not stay in my American comfort zone. When traveling, I found it more beneficial to experience the authentic cultural locations and not just the tourist attractions. Finding a small, quaint, and delicious restaurant in a large city always felt rewarding.

Advice to students who are considering an international experience:

Take the trip while you are still able to. Save your money, do your research, and enjoy the experience.

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Ruben showing his Gator Pride at the Great Wall of China

Ruben Jean

Major: Civil and Coastal Engineering
Minor: Sales Engineering
Year: Senior
Semester spent abroad: Fall 2013
University: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

What Ruben has to say about his time abroad:

My experience in Hong Kong was amazing. From learning Chinese culture firsthand to applying myself in civil engineering and construction classes, I was able to obtain a rich experience from this time abroad. My host university’s campus was beautiful and many of classes were in a brand new, state of the art classroom building complex. Many of my professors were quite engaging, and loved that they had a few exchange students in their classrooms, trying their best to relate course topics and practices to American society. I thoroughly enjoyed learning construction and engineering concepts from my professors. I was constantly adapting in order to achieve the goals I had set beforehand.

One of my favorite memories in Hong Kong was living in the student residence hall. The resident hall housed approximately 900 students, both international and local full-time students. Hall life was amazing in that it allowed hundreds of students to connect in a community where we could live, laugh, and learn about each other’s cultures.

Being in a different country has allowed me to improve my ability to communicate effectively with people from other cultures, since there were many times when the language barrier came into play and a message still needed to be communicated. This skill can translate to a benefit in the workplace, since being able to communicate with people from other cultures is a very desirable skill to have. With this, I will be able to better market myself to companies, especially those with an international presence.

Advice to students who are considering an international experience:

If you have the slightest inkling of studying abroad, don’t delay! Stop pushing off the research you will need to do. Even if you have no idea where you will go, or where the money will come from, or if you can graduate on time, start the process. While I waited until my fourth year to go abroad, pushing graduation by a semester, this experience will hands down be the best part of my collegiate career.

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Morgan at the Colosseum in Rome

Morgan at the Colosseum in Rome

Morgan Byerly

Major: Nuclear Engineering
Year: Sophomore
Semester spent abroad: Spring 2012
University: SKEMA Business School, France

What Morgan has to say about her time abroad:
Learning in a different environment was an exciting experience. Career-wise it’s provided me with more experience in working with people from different cultures and allowed me to prove my ability to adapt to new situations. I’ve found that interviewers are always impressed that I’ve had this experience. Europe is both very similar and very different from the US. That being said, moving to France for four months did not induce any form of culture shock, as traveling to other countries may have. It opened up my view of the world, and I would certainly move back for a few years, but ultimately I have a deeper appreciation for living in the US.

The preliminary work to secure a spot in the program at SKEMA was discouraging at times. But as more people from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering strive to fit a study abroad program in our rigorous curriculum, it will make it easier for future Gator Engineers to gain experience abroad.

Advice to students who are considering an international experience:

If you can get your classes/finances worked out, you should definitely go!

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Ashley PapagnoPapagno

Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering
Minor: Business Administration & Sales Engineering
Year: Senior
Semester spent abroad: Summer 2014
Program: UF in London
What was your best experience abroad?
My favorite experience was seeing the unique sites and participating in activities unique to Europe. I was able to go coasteering (activity including swimming, rock climbing, and cliff jumping) off the coast of Wales, which was an adventure I’d never forget. One of my other favorite experiences was visiting the University of Cambridge. It absolutely amazed me to be viewing a University that was 200 years older than my country! It’s a feeling unlike any other to be standing in the same location as many of the world’s greats including Darwin and Hawking.
Advice to students who are considering an international experience:

Stay positive and appreciate everything! You may miss your flight, meet amazing people you don’t know when you’ll see again, or get lost. These situations are unfortunate and happen to many people. But in all, being abroad at this age is so unique and you should appreciate every moment! You’re only living this experience once, so live it!

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