Asee peer logo

Engineering Field Experience ? An International And Cultural Perspective For Civil Engineering Students

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Without Borders: Programs Involving Students

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.634.1 - 12.634.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Wei Lin North Dakota State University

visit author page

Dr. Wei Lin is an Associate Professor of environmental engineering in North Dakota State University. He also serves as the Director of the interdisciplinary Environmental and Conservation Sciences graduate program. Dr. Lin teaches environmental and water resources courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. His research areas include water and wastewater treatment technologies, wetland studies, and river water quality modeling and management. Before join NDSU, Dr. Lin was a senior engineer with Ecology and Environment, Inc. He has worked on various environmental projects in the US and China as design engineer and project manager. He serves as the faculty advisor for American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Water Environment Federation (WEF) Student Chapter at NDSU.

visit author page


Frank Peloubet North Dakota State University

visit author page

Francis (Frank) H. Peloubet is an adjunct professor and guest lecturer with the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Department of Civil Engineering. Frank teaches University Studies/Skills for Academic Success, Introduction to Civil Engineering, Surveying, Fluid Mechanics, and Capstone Senior Design. His research interests are in the areas of transportation and environmental engineering. Frank holds a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from NDSU and is a registered professional engineer. Frank has engineering work experience with municipal utilities, engineering consulting firms, and a state environmental regulatory agency. Frank is a member of the ASCE, APWA, NACE, and the Order of the Engineer. He is also a member of Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi societies.

visit author page


Huizhen Wang Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture

visit author page

Huizhen Wang is a professor sanitary engineering in the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

visit author page


Yajun Zhang Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture

visit author page

Yajun Zhang is a professor and a vice president of the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Engineering Field Experience-An International and Cultural Perspective for Civil Engineering Students


Field experiences have been included as class activities in many engineering curricula. Students gain an understanding and appreciation from “real world” applications of topics and theories learned in the classroom. In the past, most of these field experiences have been limited to specific courses and conducted for just a few hours within easy travel distance from a university. The Department of Civil Engineering at North Dakota State University developed a field experience course that takes students to China to gain first hand knowledge on civil engineering design and construction practice, to learn the history of civil engineering and cultural influences on engineering practice, and to have an education/cultural exchange with Chinese students. In collaboration with the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture (BICEA), twelve senior level students and two faculty members visited China in spring 2005. The class visited Beijing, the Three Gorges area of Yangtze River, and Shanghai to observe and inspect specific sites and projects, including the Three Gorges Dam and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games main stadium construction sites, as they relate to the civil engineering and construction education. In Beijing, the class stayed on the campus of BICEA. In addition to campus visit, a mini-conference was organized for American and Chinese students to present their curricula and extra-curricula activities, their campus life, and to have small group discussion. In addition, students were exposed to the cultural and historical implications of engineering education, project planning and design, as well as construction decisions and methods. A course evaluation of the course showed that students have gained better understanding of global perspectives of civil engineering and culture influence on engineering designs, learned what they could never learn in regular classes through site visits and meeting with Chinese students, and enjoyed opportunity for providing input to the design of course components. The course appears to be a resounding success and could offer great benefit to the student’s engineering education and future professional career.


Graduating engineering students are increasingly being exposed to employment opportunities that require them to work on international projects or spend extended time periods working in other countries. Industrial advisors often stress the importance of international experience, awareness of global issues, and cultural diversity awareness as desirable traits of new-hire engineers. ABET 2000 also lists having “the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context” as an engineering program criterion1. In order to prepare students for competing in the global job market, engineering curricula need to address global perspectives and the cultural, economic, and societal impacts on engineering designs2, 3, 4. To understand and appreciate different engineering practices, students also should compare their engineering education with the education systems in other countries. Numbers of study abroad and international exchange programs have been developed and carried out at different universities5, 6, 7, 8.

Lin, W., & Peloubet, F., & Wang, H., & Zhang, Y. (2007, June), Engineering Field Experience ? An International And Cultural Perspective For Civil Engineering Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2765

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015