Hola Future and Fellow Boilermakers,
My name is Marissa Berns, and I will be a senior this fall. I am originally from southwest Iowa and am majoring in Industrial Engineering and minoring in Global Engineering Studies. I am also working to complete the program for the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I would like to share with you a small part of my Purdue experience in a series of blog posts to be published in the upcoming weeks.
Throughout my time at Purdue, I have had so many wonderful experiences. I have made a great group of friends and future contacts and enjoyed learning at the best university on earth. However, one of the most valuable experiences Purdue has given to me took place nearly 2500 miles away from West Lafayette.
Beginning in January of 2015 I began an exciting adventure in the city of Medellín, Colombia as a member of the first cohort of Purdue students to participate in a semester study abroad at Universidad EAFIT. While there, the group of five Boilermakers studying industrial, mechanical, computer, and civil engineering participated in the first English-taught engineering classes at the university. In my four classes (that all count towards my major at Purdue), I learned so much from my professors and classmates about manufacturing engineering, Spanish, and the Colombian culture. The class sizes were small and the laboratories very hands-on. In one class I even learned how to use a lathe, a mill, a drill press, and a grinding machine using both the English and Spanish vocabulary. For our semester project, a partner and I utilized all of these machines, plus a lesson in foundry, to create a small vice. Although I spent many hot hours in the machine shop, I now have a sense of pride for what I was able to create, and that I was able to learn enough vocabulary to complete my final presentation in Spanish.
Universidad EAFIT also provided us with great resources both in and out of class. We were offered free Spanish classes and a free dance lesson at the beginning of the semester. Additionally we had access to wonderful bilingual employees in the Office of International Relations who helped us change our schedules, showed us the best places to hike, and even went with us to doctors’ appointments to help us feel more comfortable. They also arranged times for us to meet the heads of our individual schools, the dean of engineering, and the president of the university.
This unique academic experience would not have been possible without the continued commitment Purdue has for developing new global opportunities for its students and the significant connection that the university is expanding with the organizations and universities of Colombia. My semester also would not have been as amazing as it was without the continual work of Universidad EAFIT and its dedication to making the international student experience a pleasant one.
Until next time,