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Developing A Study Abroad Opportunity For Engineering Undergraduates

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Abroad Educational Opportunities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.396.1 - 8.396.6



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Paper Authors

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Jo-Ann Murray

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Urbain DeWinter

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Solomon Eisenberg

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3260

Developing a Study Abroad Opportunity for Engineering Undergraduates

Solomon R. Eisenberg1, Jo-Ann Murray1 and Urbain DeWinter2 1 College of Engineering / 2Division of International Programs, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215


The Boston University College of Engineering, in cooperation with the Division of International Programs and the Technical University of Dresden (TUD) in Dresden, Germany, inaugurated a study abroad program in spring 2001 designed specifically for second-semester sophomore engineering undergraduates at Boston University. The program enables engineering undergraduates to incorporate a study abroad experience in their undergraduate degree programs while continuing to make normal progress toward their degrees. Prior exposure or facility with German is not expected before starting the program, but students must participate in an intensive German-language course while in Dresden. The TUD was chosen as a partner in developing this program because Boston University already had a small program and a resident director established at this site. In addition, the TUD had appropriate faculty and laboratory facilities available to teach the requisite science and engineering courses in English. While in Dresden, students take three of four technical courses taught in English by full-time faculty of the TUD, a sociology course also taught in English, and an intensive German language course. The technical courses are based on the same textbooks and syllabi used in Boston and provide comparable laboratory exercises. All courses are Boston University courses, thereby avoiding the transfer credit complications. The semester begins in early February and ends in mid-July. This paper will explain our rationale for choosing this model for an engineering study abroad program, our view of the advantages of this model and the processes undertaken to establish the program. We will report on our experiences with the program to date, and on student outcomes.


In an increasingly global economy in which engineering plays such a fundamental role, it is becoming ever more important for engineers to be knowledgeable about and comfortable with other cultures1,2. While it is generally accepted that engineering professionals will require greater understanding of global issues and greater ability to work collaboratively with international colleagues1, there are very few study abroad programs available that have been designed especially for engineering students1. Even fewer programs allow students to advance in technical coursework while abroad. Thus, at a time of increasing need for international skills—fluency in a foreign language, intercultural understanding and communication, and a global perspective—few engineering students have the opportunity to develop these skills1, 2, 3. The Institute of International Education noted in its annual report, Open Doors 2001, that only 3 percent of study

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Murray, J., & DeWinter, U., & Eisenberg, S. (2003, June), Developing A Study Abroad Opportunity For Engineering Undergraduates Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12556

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