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Lessons Learned: Our First Engineering Study Abroad Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

International Case Studies:Collaborations, Exchanges & Interactions

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1019.1 - 12.1019.11



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Paper Authors


Carol Gattis University of Arkansas

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Carol S. Gattis, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. She also directs and develops new programs for the college-wide study abroad efforts in addition to her duties as director of recruitment, retention and diversity.

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Findlay Edwards University of Arkansas

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Findlay Edwards, Ph.D., P.E. is an associate professor at the University of Arkansas conducting research in the areas of stormwater treatment, electrolytic treatment of waters, and ballasted flocculation. He has taught environmental engineering classes for ten years at the University of Arkansas and New Mexico State University.

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

Lessons Learned: Our First Engineering Study Abroad Program in India


The outsourcing of engineering work overseas is dramatically increasing, especially to India. U.S. universities are also experiencing large increases in graduate students from India. Many engineering graduates will eventually manage, work with, or work for people in/from India.

The University of Arkansas, College of Engineering created the Engineering Study Abroad in India Program beginning summer 2006. The program’s purpose is to introduce UofA students to Indian culture and history while studying engineering, to build connections with undergraduate and graduate engineering programs in India, and to bring awareness of the UofA engineering program to Indian students and faculty. Few India study abroad programs exist, and those that do tend to focus on only the student experience. Our program also focuses on building relationships with Indian universities, students and faculty.

Creation of the program entailed: 1) determining program goals and budget, 2) creating the administrative framework for this unique program, 3) locating an appropriate engineering college in India to host the students and faculty, 4) selecting the UofA faculty member/courses to be taught, 5) selecting and preparing the students, and 6) working out the program details.

Lessons learned during this first program year include how to deal with: 1) administrative problems associated with setting up courses taught off campus, 2) foreign expenses, 3) locating a university with appropriate credentials/facilities, 4) student selection, 5) living conditions in a developing country, 6) student culture shock and safety requirements, and 7) extracurricular activities.

The final phase of the program included an evaluation which was used to guide future program improvements. Methods of evaluation included: 1) student journals, 2) faculty debriefings, 3) student debriefings, and 4) program successes documentation. The areas that have been targeted for improvement include: 1) expanded pre-departure student awareness, 2) more explicit specifications of what is expected from the host institution, 3) and better coordination of extra- curricular activities with classes.

We feel the first year of the program was a success and provided many valuable lessons for the future of the UofA Engineering Study Abroad in India Program.


The outsourcing of engineering work overseas is dramatically increasing, especially to India. Many U.S. based corporations are creating large research centers in India due to the large talent pool and low costs. This changing nature of the world economy makes it essential to provide our students with the cross-cultural tools to become successful professionals in the global workplace. Many of our engineering graduates will eventually manage, work with, or work for people in/from India, so it makes sense to give students an opportunity to live and learn within the

Gattis, C., & Edwards, F. (2007, June), Lessons Learned: Our First Engineering Study Abroad Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2285

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