July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
It has been long believed and proven that study abroad changes people’s lives forever for the better in terms of personal growth, interpersonal relationships, and long-term career benefits. Studies show that the longer the program, the more effective these positive impacts of a global experience are on individuals .
Semester-long reciprocal exchange programs provide a lasting and impactful experience, but it is not always easy to find classes that are both transferrable and can satisfy a student’s degree plan. This may be a reason why students prefer short term/midterm global programs, making the participation of engineering students in long-term study abroad programs quite low.
For two years, we have deployed and implemented a faculty-led semester program more befitting of an engineering student’s degree plan to encourage participation in a semester-long program without delaying their graduation. The program has been offered for two consecutive years, Spring 2019 and Spring 2020, with over 30 students enrolled each semester. Course variety is offered in an effort to attract the entire student population of the Civil Engineering department (primarily at the Junior classification). The classes are also made available to all other engineering students, allowing them to join by registering for (at least) two on-site classes, utilizing their elective selections and taking some classes online to complete their required semester load.
The program has a well-balanced schedule emphasizing group activities and personal time without compromising the quality of education. It is embedded into the context of a historical city (Rome, Italy), which offers a variety of advantages for program deployment. In particular: a welcoming host university with a strong engineering focus; an experienced local provider for logistics and accommodation; the availability of qualified engineering internship opportunities for students to partake in during the program; a culturally and technically-rich city that provides students with both academic and personal enrichment; a world-renowned touristic destination; and a natural hub for personal traveling.
The purpose of this paper is to share with the global engineering education community how the program was developed and implemented, the lessons learned, and the program’s impact on students.
Quadrifoglio, L., & Alves, M. C., & Myint, A. (2021, July), Key Elements for Integrating a Semester Long Abroad Program into the Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37414
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