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Work Abroad Co-op Experiences

Work Abroad Student Experiences Video

 

Phil McKee, Mechanical Engineering, at Draegerwerk AG & Co. KGaA S.r.l. in Germany

Phil McKee, Mechanical Engineering student
Work Abroad in Germany
Employer: Draegerwerk AG & Co. KGaA S.r.l.

"My stay in Germany is something I would recommend in an instant. The co-workers, friends, and even random strangers were some of the nicest people I've ever met. They gave me one of the best learning experiences of my life, with work and socially, and I have them to thank for opening my eyes to the world."


 

Terry Solomon, Biomedical Science, at Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Ploen, Germany

Terry Solomon, Biomedical Science (BS) student
Work Abroad in Ploen, Germany
Employer: Institute for Evolutionary Biology

"I think there were two best parts. From a work perspective, I had an amazing opportunity to use methods and work with technology that I haven't ever worked with before. I was given a lot of responsibility at work, and learned a whole lot. The other best part was the people that I worked with. We were such a diverse group of people, and we were in such a small town that we organized a ton of activities together. We had barbecues every other week, we went canoeing and swimming the lakes a lot, we went and saw movies and went out to dinner with each other. We even had a pancake night where everyone made pancakes specific to their country (american pancakes, french crepes, etc)."


 

Zachary Hoefler, Game Design and Develop (BS)
Work Abroad in Berlin, Germany
Employer: Wooga, GmbH

"In my case, I originally wanted to study abroad, but I couldn’t afford it and it never fit well into my schedule. With an internship, however, the cost of my flight was reimbursed, and I’m getting enough pay to cover my costs of living. Though I don’t really need more course credits, I have no problem taking time to get practical work experience. You still get to experience a new culture, practice a foreign language, and see a completely new part of the world, but without the monumental cost that normally goes along with studying abroad.

Take some time to think about working in another part of the world. Though it’ll take a bit of time to adjust to the new culture, and you might feel overwhelmed at first, it’s the kind of experience that will change your life.”


 

Alexander Fritz Stillings, pictured in front of the Sydney Opera House, on co-op at 4ZZZ 102.1 FM, Australia

Alexander Fritz Stillings, Journalism major
4ZZZ 102.1 FM
Brisbane, Australia

Through International Internships and AustraLearn, I was hooked-up with an internship at a Brisbane, Australia radio station - 4ZZZ 102.1 FM. Working 8-4 everyday, writing scripts, conducting pre-recorded interviews and being on the air everyday, not only have I garnered an enormous amount of work experience, I have learned the norms and adjusted to another culture.

The nerves of living in another country set in a few weeks before I left, but once I was settled-in, I realized that this was a great decision I made. Australians are extremely friendly and are always looking to help out, which aided to adjusting to their culture. Although I was in Brisbane, I was still able to travel on the weekends and see lots of iconic Australian symbols, such as kangaroos and koalas, Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Opera House, rugby games, surfing, tributes to the Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin), and I even got an interview with the Sea Shepherd of Animal Planet's "Whale Wars".

Working and living in another country has opened my eyes to opportunities and experiences that I am truly grateful for, and can honestly say that I haven't any regrets. Cheers, mate!


 

Elyse Jurutka, an International Studies major on co-op in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Elyse Jurutka, International Studies major
Educado en Argentina, sponsored by CDS International
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Job Title: English teacher/ translator
I spent three months in the capital of Argentina this summer. I was responsible for two different English courses, geared towards adults. I developed my own curriculum and syllabus, and met several times per week with students. I also worked on translating my organization's website and edited some of the existing English translations. In addition, I worked closely with my boss to look into possible funding from a variety of organizations throughout the world.

How did you find the job? Through a company that works with RIT, CDS International

Tips or advice for students who will co-op for the first time? Do your research if you will be co-oping abroad! Know what the weather will be like, what the dialect there will be and what to expect of life outside of the office as well. It was winter in Argentina, and quite cold, so I was happy that I knew to bring warm clothes. Also, make an effort to befriend people from your host country, not just other students that are working abroad. I learned the most from the Argentine citizens, they helped me improve my Spanish and taught me to look at the working world in an entirely different manner. And do all of the touristy stuff, it is the best way to get to know the country.


 

Jordan Pelovitz demonstrates his cockpit at e-Go Aeroplanes in Cambridge, United Kingdom

Jordan Pelovitz, Industrial Design

I was there to design a cockpit from scratch for a small one person aircraft, then build a mockup of it so that it could be tested for ergonomics and shown to potential customers.

I heard about the company on a forum I frequent, then randomly fired off my resume to them. They weren't even asking for anyone as far as I knew, but I got lucky and it turns out they were looking for someone with my talents.

If you want the *true* experience of living abroad, definitely get a flat - but only if you're confident in your ability to make friends by walking up to people and starting conversations. Living in foreign student housing has the perks of a readily available social group, but it does make it easier to not get involved with the locals, just because you don't have to. If you're living on your own, it gives a great idea of what life is like and it forces you to make friends with people you might not approach otherwise.


 

Share Your Experience

Have you had an overseas co-op, study abroad or full time employment experience you’d like to share?

Please share your comments and/or advice by e-mailing Maria Richart mjroce@rit.edu. With your permission, your comments will be posted on this site for others to view and learn from. If you are open to speaking with others about your experience, please include your contact information!