Ready to gain international experience?
The College of Engineering has many opportunities to gain international experience through study abroad and internships abroad!
Studying abroad is an amazing experience, and I would highly recommend it to any Aggie. Not only are there many opportunities to learn a new culture and language, but being abroad also made me value my industrial engineering major in a whole new way. In Spain, my foreign home for a semester, the reputation that industrial engineering has was notable. Sometimes in the U.S., it takes a bit of explaining exactly what industrial engineers do for people to understand, but for the Spaniards I met, the degree was instantly recognized with high esteem. Although industrial engineering is a well-respected major in the U.S., experiencing this new sense of urgency and awe that Spaniards associated with the degree made me appreciate it more.
Likewise, being abroad reminded me that industrial engineering is truly a global profession. Many of the systems that industrial engineers optimize, especially in the area of manufacturing and logistics, span the globe. Whether designing a factory in Indonesia, ensuring compliance with French quality standards or serving customers in Brazil, industrial engineering is enhanced with international skills. Therefore, it is important to have a global and cultural awareness to design systems that include the foreign components.
Another way in which my time abroad enhanced my degree was learning how engineering is valued across cultures and how many different industries and countries are looking to hire us. At no time was this clearer than on the trip I took to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. (Visiting Holland was always a goal of mine since I have a Dutch last name.)
Along with visiting the many canals and the Van Gogh museum, I was able to visit Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer, the world’s largest flower auction. Holland is known for its tulips, yet this flower market far exceeded the high expectations I had for it. Every day, 19 million flowers are gathered and sold. This requires a massive logistical operation that repeats every single day. The growers submit flowers which are organized for the auction in mobile carts. During the auction, workers assemble trains of flower carts and use electric vehicles to drive the flowers past the bidders who fight to get the best price against the auction clock.
Within a matter of four hours, millions of flowers are on their way to their purchasers across the world. Just imagine the kind of detail and excellence required to maintain this operation! Behind it all are industrial engineers working hard to optimize the process and ensure customers are satisfied through a sound logistical system, illustrating how industrial engineering can be applied seamlessly internationally and how these skills are valuable across the world. My time overseas made me realize that I can use my studies anywhere: whether that is designing factories in Spain, logistics in Holland or supply chains in Greece.
If you are considering going abroad for an entire semester but have doubts, go for it! My experience in Europe was incredible.
If you are an industrial engineering major (or any engineering major for that matter), there are also specific faculty-led programs that are tailored to your core engineering classes. Special shoutout to our amazing faculty who make these opportunities possible. I highly recommend going abroad as an Aggie engineer if you are able. The experiences you have will be eye-opening and may even make you appreciate your major in a whole new way.