Sixteen Tech engineering students, accompanied by faculty advisors Corinne Darvennes and Holly Stretz, had the opportunity to study abroad in France over spring break. While overseas, they visited an engineering school and engineering firms, as well as the sights of Paris, small French towns, and even London. Students were able to visit the Institute of Automotive and Transport Engineering in Nevers, France and gain insight into French engineering education.
“At Tech we do more theoretical training than they do,” said Andrew Demko mechanical engineering major, “but they have more applied and hands on learning.”
“In France, they go to pre-college and get all of their general education and engineering fundamentals like physics, statics and dynamics out of the way for the first two years. Then, if they qualify, they do the program they want to study for three years.”
Students also visited engineering companies like Cummins Filtration, as well as examples of engineering and architecture, such as the Eiffel Tower.
French Professor Debbie Barnard explained some advantages and disadvantages to studying abroad.
“One of the big advantages is that you can use the language in a real life setting,” Barnard said. “It’s the best classroom.”
By traveling abroad, you can use the language from person to person rather than in a classroom. That way you can experience culture outside of the classroom in a real environment.
Barnard said one of the biggest disadvantages is funding. It is expensive to travel abroad, but students can get financial support through Tech for airfare and travel expenses.
“It can be scary at first,” Barnard said, “but even in a week you can adapt to the culture.”
Demko said, “The trip was the best spring break I have ever had, and I learned a lot about engineering in France.
“As a student in engineering it helps to get as many view points as possible. Different perspectives will give you the creativity or insight needed to complete many tasks.