"I studied abroad at the University of Sydney, Australia over the summer and fall of 2004. While I was there, I lived at St. John's College, a residence-hall-meets-fraternity, with 200 other Australians and 5 Americans. Sharing a floor with Aussies who attended "uni" with me was great because I was exposed to the Australian culture daily, which led to some great conversations and provided me with a close group of friends and lots to do on the weekends when the college hosted activities and sport competitions. I took two engineering classes as well as several electives; having the opportunity to take an Australian History & Culture course really helped give me context for all the museums and monuments that I visited. The best part of my experience was traveling the east coast from the Great Barrier Reef to Melbourne and Tasmania over my spring break."
"I interned at Design Continuum Italia in Milan, Italy over the summer of 2006. The experience of not only living in a country, but working there too was amazing! Our office was made up of people from 8 different countries and I loved working with designers and engineers who had such different creative and cultural backgrounds. I didn't know any Italian when I went, but was determined to learn from my co-workers. They all spoke English to varying degrees and were very patient with me as I learned how to communicate my ideas to them as well as to understand when they spoke Italian to me. I think the best part of the experience for me was being exposed to the Italian culture on a daily basis and gaining insight into how design and engineering companies abroad function."
"If you are looking for a special study abroad experience then do what I did and go to the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. It is the only American program in the hilltop capital of the Umbria region which has such an international collection of students that I felt like I was living in a small world. My roommate Mohammad from Cairo, Egypt came from a city that was three times the size of my Norwegian roommate Sjur's country. Learning the Italian language was a great challenge and Perugia was a proving ground. The area had so much local travel opportunities like Assisi, Siena, Rome, and Florence that my weekends were always busy. Foreign destinations were accessible through Rome or Florence which were less than three hours by train. The travel highlights were the Olympics in Torino, spring break in Lecce (on the coast in the heel), and my four day weekend in Barcelona. My greatest accomplishment was pursuing an internship with the school for the spring which allowed me to remain in Italy and share my passion with new students. I rarely go a day without smiling and thinking about my experience in Perugia."