Experiences of the Purdue Study Abroad Program

I learned Spanish as my second language ten years ago. When I took the course, the instructor said that if you want to improve or even make a great progress of your Spanish, you must go to Spain or any other country speaking Spanish. Two years ago when I walked in the hallway in MSEE building, a professor asked me ”Are you interested in being TA in study abroad course next Maysemester? We will go to Spain for three weeks.” What? Going to Spain! Yes! Absolutely!

I went to Spain in May semester in the past two years. I have been to Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. I spent three weeks each year in Spain and learned a lot of fun Spanish culture. The class was in the whole morning everyday and students might do their homework in the afternoon or visit attractions around the city. As TA in this class, my job was to take care of all the students not only on their homework but on their safeties as well. Most of the time, I roamed in the city with the students, having the must-eat paella, must-watch flamenco dance, and must-visit Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. We also found a bistro serving almost unlimited tapas. You ordered any kind of drinks and the bistro gave you all tapas they made. The tapa is one of famous cuisine in Spain. You may think tapa as appetizer. It may be cold or hot. In fact, a tapa is a small portion of any kind of Spanish cuisine.

Since it costs less (three or four euros depending on the alcohol people order), students went there for their dinner several times. I did not drink and I don’t drink. So, I ordered orange juice. When I ordered orange juice, the server thought I wanted orange juice with alcohol. After 5 –minute explanation with my poor Spanish, he understood with his weird smile. I was glad that I ordered my pure orange juice andhe was also surprised that someone did not drink alcohol in the bistro. After three days, I went to the bistro again. The server recognized me and gave me orange juice right away. I thought to myself that “I want apple juice or just water.”

In the first year, five students and I decided to visit Rome at the last minute on the three-day long weekend. I made an absolutely wise decision to visit another country. I never forget what a colossal coliseum it is. When I went out of the subway, I was not ready yet to see the amphitheater. But, this tremendous building, one of seven wonders of the world, was right in the front of me. I couldn’t wait to visit inside. To my surprise, in the arena, I ran into a college friend who we have not met for more than ten years after the graduation. What a small world! It reminds me that all roads lead to Rome. So, next time if you really want to meet someone, go to coliseum!

This year, we had a cooking class. We learned to cook one of the famous Spanish food: tortilla (Spanish potato omelette). The chief told us the procedure. We peeled potatoes and cut them as diced potatoes. Then, we deep-fried the diced potatoes. After that, we put the fried potatoes into the eggs and slice onions. Mix and smear evenly before we pan-fry them. The difficulty was to flip the thick omelette and pan-fry again. I love this dish. Students and I were glad that we had a great opportunity to cook Spanish food taught by real Spanish people. The fun fact is the day after I came back to the U.S., I went to the supermarket and bought the ingredients to make the tortilla again.

At Sevilla, we had pre-talk of bullfight.We learned the history of bull fight and why Spanish people had bullfight. The bull fighter, called the matador, also wore his custom and told us the function of each part he had. Some students and I also went on stage experiencing how to trick the bull with their big and heavy red rag. Some students refused to watch bullfight in the beginning because they thought it was really cruel. However, after the pre-talk, they learned the custom/reason why Spanish people continue to have this event each year and how they were going to treat the bulls after they were killed. Some students changed their minds and would like to watch the game in live because they wanted to be more involved in Spanish culture not just listening the presentation but also watching the real show. They wanted to see what was going on and tried to deal with the cultural difference. Not always thinking from their own side, students wanted to pretend they are Spanish and figure it out why the bullfight event continues. This is also the spirit of Boiler Abroad.

I was glad that I had the chance to visit Spain and practice my Spanish. I also immersed myself into the local culture. It was a great experience to learn professional and cultural knowledge at the same time. This program provides me to gain global perspective and intercultural experience. If you have this chance, don’t miss it!

Barcelona Purdue Flag Biking in Seville Bullfight in Madrid Seville
Paris Madrid Palace Bullfight in Seville Host Family in Seville

 

 

 

Waiting for the Show

An Ordinary Atypical Day as a Graduate Student

Hellooooo World!!! I am David and in this post I am going to talk about one of the (special) days that I have lived and enjoyed here at Purdue University.

First of all, you would say… “this guy made a mistake in the title.” Well, that may be true, but read it again slowly… As a graduate student, everyday is different, everyday is atypical because you have the power to organize yourself, to build each day as a different day and not stick to the routine (or stick to it if it is what you need). That is why I call this piece of enjoyable reading “an ordinary atypical day as graduate student.”

The day I am going to talk about was a Cold Day in the Sun and it was special because I went to one of the best concerts I have ever been. It was one of These Days that you wake up and you say: “David, today you have to give The Best of You ” and you get up with energy because you know what is coming. The good thing of being in grad school is that you do not have imposed everyday schedules and the bad thing is that you have deadlines and meetings.

At the Show
David waiting for the show!

Two of them were scheduled for that morning. I always complain about meeting, I think I have too many, that distract me from doing research that is what I want to do All my Life. But I have to recognize that meetings in graduate school teach you as much as the research itself if one is able to see the big picture. Being a researcher is not only to spend time in the lab, but built confidence on yourself and your work and share it with the research community. This last part, in which a lot of us (young researchers) miserably fail is the Generator of future research. In meetings you can learn how to interact with people, how to express your ideas to different kind of public and how to motivate young researchers (also, sometimes you learn how you should not behave, but let’s stick to the positive things).

The two morning meetings were exhausting for My Poor Brain, so we decided to go have lunch around Lafayette. There are amazing places to eat here in Lafayette-West Lafayette. I think the multicultural environment around the university has brought the best of each place around the world to this town in Indiana. The food is one of them and I especially enjoy Asiatic food so we decided to go to a Japanese restaurant here in West Lafayette (I will not write names to avoid advertising buuuut if you need info about good food around here you can reach me).

After lunch, time to do research. This is something important that I have learned during my time at Purdue: even when you are Exhausted, you have to progress everyday in your research. You choose your pace and the way you do it, since normally supervisors leave you Enough Space to be your own boss the most part of the time, but the progress needs to be there. So that special and cold day, I spent four hours in the lab before hitting the road for that concert I waited Everlong. The concert, unfortunately, was not in West Lafayette, but if you (or one of your friends) have a car it is normal to drive one or two hours to see one amazing spectacle that normally you are not able to enjoy in the place you are from. Lafayette is one hour drive from Indianapolis where I have been in several concerts of all kind of music and sports spectacles as NBA games, NFL games and motor races in the famous Motor Speedway of Indianapolis. If one drives North for two hours, one arrives to the Windy City: Chicago. Obviously if in Indianapolis you can enjoy all the aforementioned shows, you cannot imagine in Chicago, but this will be for another post.

Coming back to our special day, we drove west to Urbana, Illinois. It is a place similar to Lafayette, maybe a bit bigger, but one of the best groups of the world (and history) was playing there. The concert was amazing. It was a three hours concert with the top hits of this group, which name for the moment I have not mentioned. When you go to a concert like that, it is difficult to put in a paper how you and the people around you feel, so if you are curious, you know… come to Purdue.


A nice moment during the concert.

 The concert finished around midnight, and we had to come back home. Moreover, when you pass from Illinois to Indiana you have to add one hour more, so at the end of the day (or the beginning of the next day) we were pretty much dead, and you feel even worse thinking that the next day I had another meeting. But I know that Times Like These are unforgettable in all the senses, for work and for leisure so I always enjoy the ride to Purdue and at Purdue, and I am ready to Learn to Fly thanks to the Boilermaker spirit!!

I hope you enjoy the reading and for future posts… I’ll Stick Around so you should too!

Best wishes to everyone!
David Gonzalez Cuadrado

P.S.: I did not say the name of the band…. If you are fans you should have guessed it in the second paragraph!! For the ones not into rock music, go to Youtube, look for the bold and cursive titles in the text and enjoy the music!!

Home Away from Home

Home Away from Home

When I moved to West Lafayette in August 2015, I did not expect to discover my new Home. Although I was floored by the hospitality of the local people, I yearned for something connected to India. I saw numerous Indian students in Purdue campus, but in the College of Education, I did not meet many.

A casual walk one day revealed a “little India” here. Just across the road from my apartment was the Indian cultural center. With my heart pounding within my rib cage, I entered the building which looked more like a huge shed. There was a little Hindu temple attached to a very big hall with a stage on one side. Bharatiya Temple & Cultural Center of Greater Lafayette or BTCCGL is the organization that runs all operations in the cultural center.

There were several flyers pinned neatly on a soft board which revealed that there existed a vibrant Indian community in this city. Few words exchanged with the lonely couple sitting there, threw more light on the center’s activities. On weekends, besides religious activities, the center offered Yoga, Sanskrit, Bal Vihar and Bagwad Gita classes. This was like any town or city in India. Little did I expect this here. I paid a visit on a Saturday and was amazed at the number of people attending the classes, both parents and little kids dressed in colorful Indian attire. If I was shocked by their numbers which was, say around 50, it was nothing compared to a bigger tremor that was coming.

Yummy dishes from India here in WL

 

On Diwali, an important festival of India, the hall attached to the temple was full to capacity. I walked into the hall, being drawn by the aroma of Indian food and was taken aback by the sheer numbers of people. There were nearly 400 people at any time and people kept leaving and coming continuously. I asked a friend, (yes, I made some friends) whether all the people were connected to Purdue. She replied that several Indians worked in companies like Caterpillar and in the many research laboratories in West Lafayette and Indianapolis. Parents worked in Indianapolis and preferred to have their homes in WL because of the good schools and safe environment. They did not mind commuting to Indy every day. This is a lot to say about any place.

In WL, all the Indian festivals were celebrated with great pomp and show. I enjoyed dressing in Indian attire, which I do rarely when in campus, and eating mouth-watering food from every state of India. There was always a grand spread of 7-8 dishes and soon I started looking forward to any celebration. I came to know that every festival was celebrated by the Indian community with great fanfare. Moreover, all these activities were organized by BTCCGL volunteers. Men and women and even children participated eagerly in organizing events, dancing, singing, putting up plays, maintaining a small library and what not.

Come November, I bought tickets to go to the Celebration of India event organized by the Indian Women’s Association or IWA. The Faith West community center was full. Now, were there a 1000 people or 1500? I never even thought in my wildest dreams that a little city like West Lafayette located in the United States, would have these many Indians. There were Purdue professors, Purdue students, their families, engineers from companies, doctors and people from every profession.

As is normal back home, there were numerous dance performances and bands belting out music from Indian movies of various languages. Performers traveled all the way from India to entertain the population here. Again, there was food, food, food……. from samosas to biriyani, all my fav food was there. My excitement was evident when I related my experiences to my mother that night. “Are there so many Indian families,” she wondered.

The story of the Indian community in WL will not be complete without me talking about the IWA. The small but efficient group of ladies organized several fun activities like summer picnics, Cricket matches and Holi celebrations. But, IWA was about something more. They used their funds to award a scholarship to a woman researcher at Purdue whose research focuses on women centric issues. They also collect money to donate towards rehabilitation efforts taking place in regions where nature unleashed its fury. In December 2015, my hometown, Chennai, was ravaged by floods and IWA immediately started arranging for help. Locally their services have been valuable to the Lafayette Food Bank, Asha Purdue Chapter, YWCA, and Lafayette Urban Ministry. They do not shirk from expressing solidarity with issues affecting the Indian community in the U.S. I know for a fact that public demonstrations were avoided even in the big cities regarding such issues.

Every year IWA publishes a magazine called Sanskriti which carries articles about global tourist attractions, critical issues, current events and also short stories. Sanskriti gives voice to many aspiring writers who live in WL. This year they published a beautiful cook book named, “Dash of Desi.” All the credit goes to the women behind IWA.

I was learning so many things about the WL Indian community and was baffled at the myriad activities they were involved in. Any big city in the U.S. houses a huge Indian population, I know, but for a small city like West Lafayette, it was amazing. The festivities, friendship and fun were reminiscent of the harmony among the Indian community. I am sure I’ll have a ton of stories to share when I visit home next summer after three long years. I can go on and on about my findings about this city, but let me keep some for my next blog post.

By the way, did I mention the word HOME, in my previous paragraph? Isn’t this like home? When I wrote that sentence, I got my title to these ramblings, “Home Away from Home.”

Video
ISS Students

Purdue ISS – We are Boilermakers

Purdue International students reciting Hail Purdue, the University’s fight song. Wherever you are from, you will always be a Boilermaker.

To Your Call Once More We Rally;

Alma Mater Hear Our Praise;

Where The Wabash Spreads Its Valley,

Filled With Joy Our Voices Raise.

From The Skies In Swelling Echoes

Come The Cheers That Tell The Tale

Of Your Victories And Your Heroes,

Hail Purdue! We Sing All Hail! Hail, Hail To Old Purdue!

All Hail To Our Old Gold And Black!

Hail, Hail To Old Purdue!

Our Friendship May She Never Lack.

Ever Grateful, Ever True,

Thus We Raise Our Song Anew

Of The Days We’ve Spent With You,

All Hail Our Own Purdue!

Video
Ambassador Group Photo

#YouAreWelcomeHere

About the video

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#YouAreWelcomeHere

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kangoma

Purdue World provides Mandela Fellows with social entrepreneurship skills

A group of 25 young African leaders learned about how to use social entrepreneurship to try to solve challenges their nations face during a six-week intensive executive-style leadership training program at Purdue University and Purdue Foundry.

kangoma
Kangoma Turay, a Mandela Fellow from Liberia, took part in a six-week intensive executive-style leadership training program at Purdue University. Turay was among 25 young African leaders who took part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship program that included involvement in the Firestarter program in the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator. (Photo provided).

Ten social entrepreneurs and researchers from Purdue presented their new technology and business ideas to members of the Mandela Washington Fellowship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, which empowers African leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 through academic coursework, leadership training and networking opportunities, and embodies the U.S commitment to invest in the future of Africa.

“The Mandela Global Challenge was a fun way for the participants to apply what they had learned about starting a successful business and use those skills to evaluate new technologies being developed by Purdue,” said Ron Ellis, general manager of social innovation for Purdue World a social entrepreneurship program at the Purdue Foundry.

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. 

The technologies covered a wide range of issues, including low-cost rapid diagnostics to detect infectious disease, fortified corn to provide essential nutrients, community water systems and new therapies to treat malaria.

Leaders taking part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Purdue, which took place June 19-July 28, were given “Monopoly money” to invest in as many of the technologies as they wanted.  They could invest all the money in one technology or spread the money across a variety of technologies. The Mandela Fellows also scored the technologies on a variety of investment criteria. A new treatment for drug-resistant malaria presented by Panae Noomuna received the most investment among the student-presented technology.

 The faculty-presented technology winner was low-cost diagnostics for detection of infectious disease by Tamara Kinzer-Ursem, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue.  

“We want to thank everyone at Purdue who presented at the Global Challenge,” Ellis said, “It was a great learning experience for Mandela Fellows and an opportunity for feedback on research.”

The program also allowed Purdue to further its international mission. Officials at Purdue and the Purdue Research Foundation announced in August the launch of “Purdue World,” a global project to accelerate its social entrepreneurship programs that can contribute to the welfare and advancement of human societies throughout the world.

The Mandela Fellows took part in the Firestarter program in the Purdue Foundry. The goal was to work through ideation and market discovery to prove out their ideas and determine a path forward to commercialize their ideas. 

Kangoma Turay, a Mandela Fellow from Liberia, who developed a business plan to expand his computer training business in his home country, said the Firestarter program inspired him.

“It has helped me a lot, I mean, with the issue of planning, how to take care of people that are working with me and a whole lot of things,” he said.

Turay, who was born into a family of nine children whose parents were subsistence farmers, founded the Lofa Young Farmers Association to teach computer and agricultural skills to youth and underserved women in Voinjama, the provincial capital of Lofa County in northern Liberia.

He returned home with 10 laptop computers donated by a local business so he could expand his business. He said there remains a great need.

“We need people to partner with us so we can get more training to be able to help create more jobs for young people in our area,” he said.

The program at Purdue is a campus-wide collaboration, co-sponsored by Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and the colleges of Engineering and Agriculture, and with support from Krannert School of Management, Center for Global Food SecurityOffice of Engagement, and the Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships.

Here is a list of all the Mandela Fellows who took part in the program at Purdue, their home country and their goals. Click on their names to see videos of them:

Atinuke Bodunde Lebile, Nigeria, a farmer, works with rural communities to mentor young, out-of-school girls on various entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

Ben Wokorach, Uganda, an architect and social innovator, is seeking to increase accessibility to nutritious foods from small farmers by using solar-power refrigerated carts for distribution.

Daliwa Joseph Bainamndi, Cameroon, is production manager of a company that specializes in rice production, where he implements new production techniques in trying to make nutritious food more available.

Diabangouya Delia Carmen, Togo, quality control manager at a cooperative, is working to help cocoa farmers by producing top-quality chocolate at her business, part of her effort to improve enterprises to produce safe foods.

Dina Kikuli, Tanzania, a nutritionist and an agribusiness entrepreneur, is working to connect rice farmers, especially female rice farmers, to the market through her work with rice processing and distribution. She also wants to help women achieve their potential.

Efe Anthony Omudu, Nigeria, experience in animal farming and machine fabrication, is focused on helping farmers making their businesses more profitable by acquiring modern agricultural skills.

Gounou Bachirou Sariki Imorou, Benin, an accountant and an executive director of a nongovernmental agency involved with peacekeeping and local development, is working to reduce joblessness by creating jobs and job training programs.

Grace Ngosa Musonda, Zambia, started a farming and food processing business, is working to solve food insecurity, to improve nutrition for children and to reduce youth unemployment.

Issa Konate, Ivory Coast, general manager of a global agribusiness, is working on improving farmer training so farmers get better yield for their production and working on connecting them with exporters.

Jacob Paarechuga Anankware, Ghana, founder and CEO of a company that focuses on insect rearing for food and nutrition, is working to solve the problems of malnutrition, food insecurity and poverty.

Joel Reagan Siamito, Kenya, is a youth leader at an initiative where he focuses on solving youth unemployment by equipping people with business skills and trying to instill them with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Jona Ambuga Ambuga, Namibia, project manager for an investment company that specializes in fundraising for nongovernmental organizations and other business activities, is seeking to help poor families obtain affordable cars.

Kangoma Turay, Liberia, is the founder and CEO of a young farmers association that focuses on offering agricultural extension services to local farmers as he seeks to reduce youth unemployment.

Marc Nkaya Passongo Severin, Congo-Brazzaville, mechanical technician in the field of oil drilling and a computer programmer, wants to bring modern farming practices to Congo-Brazzaville, where farmers currently depend heavily on hand tools.

Zaina Banda, Malawi, is a chartered accountant and founder of an agricultural enterprise that aims at becoming a world-class entity that participates in the end-to-end agricultural value chain, creating jobs and wealth for the community.

Miora Harifetra Rajaonasitera, Madagascar, head of operations at a company that promotes agricultural products, wants to expand and empower the community of farmers to build sustainable supply chains.

Naomi Mohammed Said, Ethiopia, a chemical engineer, hopes to build an agro-industry enterprise that will allow the country to reduce imports and create more jobs.

Eluwole Olaniyi, Nigeria, an entrepreneur and agricultural extension officer with experience running farms as a social enterprise, is working to create jobs and seeking ways to support women and young people in agriculture.  

Sabriino Clair, Mauritius, is a project manager/food technologist, wants to increase poultry production and improve innovation in the industry.

Sebastien Roger Ayimambenwe, Gabon, founder and CEO of an agricultural company that focuses on creating and developing plantations of cocoa tree and corn for local and international markets, is trying to improve the quality of cocoa beans for farmers.  

Sylvie Sangwa, Rwanda, managing director of a business, is working to improve agricultural productivity, especially healthy foods, through sustainable agricultural practices.

Tanyada Maluwa, Botswana, is managing director and lead facilitator of an organization that formulates and implements workshops and programs to educate people on various aspects of nutrition, wellness, and food businesses. She is seeking to reduce Botswana’s reliance on horticulture imports.

Temwananani Phiri, Malawi, is an agricultural entrepreneur involved in general farming who is seeking to improve food security through practical farming and getting more young people involved in agriculture.

Japi Yemisrach Mesfin Bogale, Ethiopia, CEO of a startup, is trying to create a way for farmers displaced by urban sprawl to earn money through aquaponics, which combines growing vegetables and fish.

Zena Afework Demissie, Ethiopia, agriculture communication and extension expert, wants to create a community that provides farmers information on the best agricultural practices, market information and nutrition education.

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue’s intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Tom Coyne765-588-1044, tjcoyne@prf.org  

Source: Ron Ellis, 765-588-5253, prellis@prf.org