Study Abroad!

Last semester I spent 4 months in Singapore studying chemical engineering. I kept a very extensive travel blog that you can read here

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I wanted to share with you all the top 10 things about studying abroad in Singapore.

1. The food.

The food in Singapore alone is a good enough reason to want to study abroad. It’s amazing there. There was Indian, Indonesia, Singaporean, Chinese, Western, Korean, Thai, and Malaysian all in the food court next to my door. And it was all delicious.

2. Talking about current events.

The coolest thing ever is being able to talk about global current events with people who are from those countries. For example, Dusan was an exchange student from the Ukraine, and it was awesome being able to get his perspective on Putin claiming Crimea. I also had a lot of Malaysian friends who had opinions about the missing Malaysian airline flight.

3. Having to learn everything on my own.

This was both a positive and a negative. It was not always fun, but it forced me to not rely on anyone else.

4. Those mornings I woke up early to get Starbucks.

Every time I had an exam, I’d wake up at 6 am and trek to Starbucks. It’s the only time of day when it’s cool enough to be outdoors in Singapore and something about being at Starbucks made me feel at home.

5. Getting to speak French.

This has only happened a few times when I met French exchange students, but every time it’s happened, I felt like the coolest person in the world. Those four years of high school French finally got put to use!

6. Getting to go to Hong Kong with friends from Purdue.

Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I got to travel to a country where none of us really spoke the language (Mandarin) with a bunch of people I was comfortable with. It was unlike any other traveling I did.

7. Getting climb down into volcanoes in Indonesia.

8. Visiting the killing fields in Cambodia – a part of history I didn’t even know existed.

9. Learning to use the public transit in new countries on the fly – specifically Malaysia. Very few people spoke English so we really had to use intuition.

10. Above all I am happy I studied abroad for the experience of coming home.

I got to come home after one of the hardest semesters in Chemical Engineering to a family I loved, friends I missed dearly, and a job I was ecstatic about – shout out to Kimberly Clark!

Studying abroad taught me that it’s not about where you end up or how quickly you get there, only that you appreciate everything along the way.

10 Signs You’re Ready to Go Back to Purdue

  1. You feel like you’re going crazy at home.

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2.  You miss the co-rec and plan on going to the gym EVERY DAY.

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3.  Instead of getting home from class and going to hang out with friends like you would at school, you get home from work and attempt to pass out as quickly as possible.

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4.  You’ve realized you’re just not quite ready for the real world yet.

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5.  You’re ready to make this year “the best one yet.”

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6.  You’ve spent way too much money on supplies for your dorm or apartment.

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7.  You’ve started to become delirious and THINK you see friends/classmates wherever you are.

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8.  You’re sick of hearing how your high school friends/ co-workers think their university is better than Purdue.

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9.  Your social life consists of refreshing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and other social media, over and over again.

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10.  You get so excited when you realize you only have a few more weeks until you get to go back to your favorite place on earth…. BOILER UP!

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The Beauty of Purdue

Growing up in Florida,  I never had the opportunity to experience the change of seasons that so many people probably take for granted (our seasons were hot and less hot)…. Similar to how I took the sunny warm weather and beaches for granted (especially after this brutal winter)!

One of my favorite things since coming to Purdue is getting to watch the seasons change.  Being on campus over the summer,  I am finally getting to enjoy the warm beautiful weather Purdue has to offer, as it seems to quickly turn into fall when students return in August.  Below is a picture of me and my dog, Sasha, during every season from the same location on campus (right in front of the Beering fountain and in between Stone and University).

 Change of Seasons

The different seasons also signify different events during the school year.  What would a football game be like without the leaves changing colors and the cooler weather approaching?  And as much as we may hate winter, how would you be able to say you sled down Slayter hill if there wasn’t any snow?  What would Grand Prix be like without the warmer spring weather?

Purdue is simply a beautiful campus, regardless of the season, whether it be the fall leaves, the blooms in the spring, or the running of the fountain during the summer.  This is something I just don’t get to see when in Florida. With such a large number of people who come to Purdue from all around the world, the beauty you see from the change of seasons is new to many people as well.   So keep in mind that what you see on campus now is not what it always looks like!

 

A Taste of Tippy

Summer classes can be kind of a bummer, but they don’t have to completely ruin the hot season for you. There are all kinds of summer events in the Lafayette area to keep you entertained. Like the STAR program! You can heckle the incoming freshman before they’ve even been through BGR. Just kidding, that wouldn’t be cool. But I am serious about fun summer events, like the Taste of Tippecanoe Street festival in downtown Lafayette.

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This annual arts event has so far been the highlight of my summer. Downtown Lafayette come alive with music, food vendors, and a whole lot of people out to enjoy summer. It starts on the Sky Bridge and goes through the Depot Station and continues on Main St. about two blocks past the court house. The entire street is lined with food booths run by local restaurants, as well as a few local artists showcasing or selling their work. I bought a gyro from the Egyptian restaurant, and a snow cone from a church group who was there doing fundraising. Both were delicious, but I wish I would have saved my money for the Jack Daniels Terryaki tips from McGraw’s Steakhouse (my friend gave me a bite of his and almost mugged him right there for the rest). For those patrons who were of age, there was a beer and wine tasting area where many of the local breweries had booths.

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There are also three different music stages, with a variety of music being played on each of them. When I arrived, there was a contemporary Jazz band performing on the Depot stage, a Reggae band jammin’ by the courthouse, and a salsa band spicing things up on one of the side streets. I also saw that there was a band called Moonshine Mason & the Rot Gut Gang slated to perform later, so I think they had just about every genre covered.

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Although it’s already passed this summer, it’s something worth marking on your calendar if you’ll be back at Purdue for a summer in the future. If you want to read more about it, here is the link to their home page:

http://tasteoftippecanoe.org/about.html

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Dead Week

We’ve almost made it through another Dead Week here at Purdue!

Every year, Dead Week comes along. At first, it’s exciting! It’s the last week of classes! It’s almost summer!

StewYou’re going to be good this year and start studying for Finals early.

Or maybe not.

But then suddenly you realize that you have two lab reports, a project, and a presentation this week.

You learn that it’s not called Dead Week because campus is calm, but because they’re trying to kill you.

Somehow, you make it through and get everything turned in. You might have even done a decent job!

And at the end of it all your brain, like this week, is dead.

…Just in time for Finals!

Stay strong, friends! You can do it!

PSEF’s Engineering Expo 2014

Every year, the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation (PSEF) puts on Engineering Expo. Expo is a day-long event for high school students designed to teach students about and get them interested in engineering. For this year’s Expo, the theme was Out of This World! and focused on space exploration and Aeronautical Engineering concepts.

During Expo 2014, 406 high school and middle school students from 23 schools learned about engineering principles and Purdue’s rich history with the space program. Did you know that 23 astronauts graduated from Purdue University, including Neil Armstrong (the first man on the moon) and Gene Cernan (the last an on the moon)?

One of the rockets miiiiight have gotten stuck in the Ballroom's ceiling... but you didn't hear that from me.
One of the rockets miiiiight have gotten stuck in the Ballroom’s ceiling… but you didn’t hear that from me.

In the morning, students participated in a Quiz Bowl competition where they tested their knowledge of space history, engineering, and Purdue trivia. They then got to learn about different engineering clubs at the Academic Fair. Finally, they made small paper rockets, which they then launched across the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom by stomping on empty 2-liter bottles.

The cornerstone of Expo is the Impromptu Design Competition that took place in the afternoon. This year’s design challenge was a modified egg drop meant to simulate a shuttle’s re-entry capsule. Students could choose to protect between 1 and 5 “astronauts” (eggs) on their journey back to Earth. The more astronauts that made it to Earth safely, the higher the team’s score; any astronauts that sustained injuries meant large deductions. The teams were also scored based on design considerations and short presentations they made before testing their device. The top three teams win scholarships if they choose to attend Purdue at West Lafayette!

Students present their device to PSEF judges.
A team presents their device.
A student shows off her design.
A student shows off her design.

 

 

 

 

 

The capsules are thrown to Earth.
The capsules are thrown to Earth.

 

R.I.P. to the astronauts that did not survive.
R.I.P. to the astronauts that did not survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s Expo was a huge success thanks to the hard work put in by everyone in PSEF and the awesome students and schools that participated. It’s a great event that helps students learn about engineering and get a chance to take part in an engaging design challenge. It’s been a huge privilege to direct Expo for the past two years. Thanks to everyone who came and made it great!

Katie

Spring Break in the Smokies

It’s the first week back from spring break – I’m happy to be back on campus and see my friends, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the time off from assignments and tests! For spring break, I went to the Smoky Mountains with a group of friends and spent a few days camping. I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but it was a great time!

The first two days/3 nights were primitive camping, which means we packed up all of our stuff and hiked a few miles into the woods to our campsite. Our site was a bit of a clearing with a fire ring and pulley system to raise our stuff up at night to discourage any curious bears that might be wandering through. (We didn’t see any bears during the week, which was a little disappointing, but also we’re all still alive, which is nice.) The second day, we went on a 14 mile hike, where a few cool things happened.

Also, this was the general consensus after all that hiking.
Also, this was the general consensus after all that hiking.

The first cool thing was this – about 4 or 5 miles into the hike, we reached the top of one of the mountains, where we came across a group of people from Purdue – some of which we knew! Purdue is a big school, but who could have imagined running into other students – some of them engineering students – at the literal top of a mountain 8 hours away from campus? After talking for a while, we continued on our hike until we reached Abrams Falls, where we climbed down a path that turned out not to be a real path and came across this:

Abrams Falls
Abrams Falls

Beautiful, right? The third cool thing was this: about 12 miles into our hike, it got dark and we were all tired and more than ready to be sitting around a campfire eating. Unfortunately, it had rained all night and for part of the day, meaning all the wood was wet, and we also were not the best fire makers, as had been demonstrated the night before.

As we got closer to our campsite, though, we saw a light, which was kind of weird. Eventually, we got to our campsite and saw a man sitting next to a huge fire in the fire ring. I’ll be honest, for a moment I was less focused on the fire and more focused on an escape plan, but when we introduced ourselves, it turns out he was a Purdue alum! He hung out with us and talked around the fire for a few hours before we went to bed. (Also, apparently in the Smoky Mountains it works out that you’re often camping at the same camp site as other groups of people you don’t necessarily know, at least for the sites capable of holding bigger groups.)

I couldn’t believe that we had traveled south for spring break and run across so many people from Purdue IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOUNTAINS. Every week I give presentations to visiting families and talk about how large and widespread our alumni network is, but it was really cool to see that played out! Plus, the guy at our campsite definitely saved us from another night of peanut butter on tortillas.

Dreaming of a white… Spring Break?

Spring is in the air! The crazy winter is finally coming to an end! In the past couple of days we’ve been getting days with temperatures in the 50’s! What a nice break after the long days of cold and snow! There is always a sense of excitement in the air as us students get ready to break out the shorts and sunglasses. In fact I busted out my shorts and boat shoes on both Monday and Tuesday.

It’s a great feeling when you can sit outside in the sunshine getting some homework done or even running to grab a Den Pop on Chauncey Hill. One of my favorite spots to sit between classes is on the grass in the area surrounding the clapping circles. It’s a great place to sit and do some homework or even to lay back and catch some Z’s listening to Purdue students flying airplanes overhead.

Clapping Circles

My favorite thing about the spring here is that despite the ever looming threat of finals nearing, Purdue provides tons of great things to break up the studying. For example, I just bought tickets for a Justin Moore concert that will be in Elliot Hall on Thursday! Yeehaw! You bet I’ll be there in my cowboy boots and plaid shirt! As someone from good ole Floyds Knobs Indiana I have to represent my country side every now and then. On top of Justin Moore, I have tickets to go to Life in Color in April. This will be my second year going and I can’t wait to hear MGK, Cash Cash, and Adventure Club doing their thing!

Life in Color 2013
Last Years Life in Color!

Spring is this awesome sign to us students that WE MADE IT! After realizing that you weathered a cold snowy winter at Purdue there’s nothing that can stop you! The professors try and bring your good mood down with exams but even those can’t stop you! In fact, my professors decided to team up on me and schedule three exams in the same week. Talk about lots to do! However, with Spring break only a week away I just keep telling myself that all of my hard work will be rewarded! I’m not heading to the sunny beaches of Florida this Spring break like a lot of my friends, but I know that Indiana will treat me well!

With the weather warming up you have to love the excitement in the air! The only thing that can get you down is a return of that nasty winter weather. Unfortunately despite the excitement over the increasing temperatures, crazy Indiana weather decided to strike again! I woke up this morning ready to throw on some shorts only to realize that there were a couple fresh inches of snow on the group! What a bummer.  Hopefully the snow will all melt for Spring Break! No one dreams of a white Spring Break!

Anyways, I’ve got two exams later today and another tomorrow! I’ve been working hard and I’m ready to kick some butt! I Hope all of you are as excited for Spring as I am! Just three quick hurdles (exams) that I have to jump and then I’ll ready to enjoy the warming weather to its fullest! Here goes nothing! Wish me luck!

The Six Stages of a New Semester

Whether this was your last first day of school or you’re still trying to figure out the printing on campus (or both), you’re probably experiencing the same highs and lows of a new semester. After what seems like a record-setting month of winter break winds down…

1. You have to leave your family.

For a lot of us, this looks something like this:

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After all, who else is going to hang out with you 16 hours a day and only get annoyed at you a few (dozen) times?

And for the rest, this may be a more accurate picture:

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You love them, but 4 weeks is a long time.

2. You finally get to see your friends!

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Don’t pretend you haven’t missed their weird little quirks.

3. But only after you buy your books for the semester.

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So much for that laptop you had your eye on. Also the boots I wanted to buy will have to stay in my dreams.

4. You just know you’re going to be so much more on top of things this semester.

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ALL of your credit hours are engineering classes? No big. You and your multi-colored pens are totally prepared.

5. But then you realize it’s 11:30 the night before classes.

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Actually, you’re not totally prepared. And your graphing calculator is begging for new batteries. Where did the day go?!

But by some miracle (AKA your own capabilities), you pull everything together and have a totally focused and productive first day.

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Good luck this semester, Boilermakers – you’re smart, talented and off to a great start! For any help or advice you may need staying on top of academics this semester, check out some of our academic support resources here.

(gifs taken from reactiongifcollection.tumblr.com)

The Changing Seasons

If you live in the Midwest, you probably already know that the weather is unpredictableIf you don’t live in the Midwest, I hope you came prepared.

What I’ve learned in my 2.5 years attending Purdue is to never leave the apartment without first checking the weather forecast. Do not rely on the alleged ‘season of the year’ or how nice it was yesterday, because the weather will betray you. Oh, you think it’s Fall? How about some snow. It was 40 degrees out yesterday, so you’re wearing two coats? Let’s warm it up to 80 degrees. And sometimes, not even the weather forecast can save you; I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve left the apartment wearing rain boots only to not have it rain a drop.

But even though the Midwest basically makes up the seasons as it goes along, there’s something exciting about the transitions to Fall and Winter.

I mean, sure, there are bad things; allergies flare up, it gets dark too soon, the fountains shut off, and no matter how beautiful fresh-fallen snow is, trudging through the sludge it becomes on the street is just not a pleasant experience.

I think these things are made worth it by the good things that come with the new seasons. In the Fall, campus becomes more beautiful then ever with the changing leaves. And who doesn’t love sweater weather?! There’s nothing better than cozying up in a cardigan with some hot chocolate to watch a movie with friends. And then you’ve got your typical Fall activities, like picking apples, visiting corn mazes, and of course carving pumpkins for Halloween!

Photo Credit: Alisha Tungare
Photo Credit: Alisha Tungare
Photo Credit: Alex Baker
Photo Credit: Alex Baker

And though it gets cold in Winter, it’s impossible not to get excited for Starbucks’ seasonal drinks (and the red cups!), the social acceptability of a wardrobe consisting exclusively of Uggs and yoga pants, and using our resources and engineering creativity to go sledding down Slayter Hill (couch on skis, anyone?).sledding-slayter-hill

So don’t let the changing seasons get you down! Although the warmer weather may be gone for now, there are still plenty of ways to stay entertained.

Katie

Office of Future Engineers Blog