September 16, 2013

From Berlin to Brannenburg, nine LSU College of Engineering students had the opportunity to travel across Germany this summer while gaining an unconventional look at engineering and earning course credit by participating in Encountering Engineering in Europe, or E3.

E3, which is offered by LSU Academic Programs Abroad and the College of Engineering, provides students a unique opportunity to live and study in Europe for five weeks during the summer while immersing themselves in the culture of a foreign country. Paige Davis, coordinator and instructor in the Department of Construction Management, led the program in its fourth consecutive year.

“E3 is learning at its finest because engineering students experience firsthand manufacturing and technology while touring factories and universities abroad,” said Paige Davis, E3 director. “The students are always learning while studying abroad – there are not only the lessons learned in the classroom and on excursions, but the life experiences that transform a student when he/she lives and studies in another country for five weeks.”

E3 participants began the program by spending four days in Berlin, followed by one day in Magdeburg, one day in Struttgart, two weeks in Nuremberg, and ended the trip with two weeks in Brannenburg.

“The realization that we were in Europe, Germany, Berlin, Munich, and the Alps sunk in deeper every time we saw something new,” said Brian Dupree, mechanical engineering student. “Whether it was the Reichstag, the old clock towers of Munich or the Alps in Brannenburg.”

In addition to taking classes, students toured factories, including Adidas, Staedtler (pencil-making company), Kuka Robotics Laboratory, Volkswagen, the Daimler facility that manufactures Mercedes-Benz, and the BMW Research and Development Center, where they witnessed innovative engineering and industrial techniques firsthand.

“The facilities were quite intriguing to Americans like us,” said Rachel Rhodes, mechanical engineering student. “It was very impressive to see something we use every day being made right before our eyes,” added Sarah Landry, industrial engineering student.

While most participants took classes on location, two students enrolled in a Contemporary Global Issues course that was held via Skype. “It is a very unusual class environment, but it facilitates the learning across the world aspect of study abroad,” said Jared DeSoto, electrical engineering student.

After spending five weeks of their summer immersed in a new culture and learning innovative manufacturing and technology practices, E3 participants could all agree that it was the experience of a lifetime.

“It seems like yesterday when we arrived in Germany and met everybody,” said Brian Dupree, mechanical engineering student. “I never thought I could grow so close to eight random classmates, as well as many of the LSU in Germany students, in such short time.”

The students kept a blog to document the program throughout their trip. Each day, a different student would update the blog with some insight on what they experienced that day. The blog can be found at http://lsue32013.wordpress.com/.

For more about E3 click here.

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Article by Lauren Zimmerman, communications intern. For more information, contact Mimi LaValle, College of Engineering, mlavall@lsu.edu or (225) 578-5706. 



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