Engineering exchange program sees growth in offered summer courses

The College of Engineering exchange program's summer courses allow students to quickly experience an overseas education

Zurriola Beach in San Sebastian, Spain is a popular location for students studying at the TECNUN School of Engineering.

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4/12/2018 | By: Nicholas Ruggieri |

As the University of Nevada, Reno's engineering exchange program continues to grow, this year, University students will be taking summer courses in Germany, Spain, and Hong Kong.

The classes offered overseas will be held at schools and institutes that are already a part of the College of Engineering exchange program's selection, including Technische Universität in Dresden, Germany; the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences in Ingolstadt, Germany; the TECNUN School of Engineering in San Sebastian, Spain; and Hong Kong Polytecnic University. Julia McMillin, who coordinates the exchange program, spoke to the growth of popularity amongst engineering students who were excited to study overseas during the summer.

"The students we're sending to Hong Kong this year applied as soon as they were eligible, and we had 15 students apply for our schools in Dresden and Ingolstadt, two of which are National Merit Scholars, and a handful are Presidential scholars," McMillin said. "So we're seeing an uptick in the quantity and quality of students were sending overseas."

McMillin also finds that the inclusion of the summer courses give students the ability to figure out how they feel about studying overseas without needing to commit to a full semester or year.

"We've been promoting a semester or a year in our engineering exchange program, and we're finding more and more interest every year," McMillin said, "but a lot of our students have never been outside of the country, and there's a little bit of hesitancy to go for a whole semester or year for their first time. So we decided to look at our partner schools, check if they have summer classes, and some of them did. We've seen an overwhelming amount of interest in the summer program, which is exciting, because it adds to the list of incredible opportunities each student has, and they have more choices to decide which time length they're going to be most comfortable with."

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The schools also provide a variety of classes for each major within the College of Engineering, as well as different levels of classes and areas of research.

"The big difference from our semester and year exchange is we have these short term summer classes for younger students and internship/research opportunities for older students," McMillin said. "There are internships for upper classmen at the Technische Universität, and there are specific classes for younger students at TECNUN, and they all feature classes for all departments within the College of Engineering. All of our students can find the classes they'll need at our exchange schools."

Engineering students being able to take classes that help them stay on track academically is key to the engineering exchange program, and the new summer courses are no different. Each school or institute on the summer exchange program's list features specialized engineering areas of study.

"We use the word ‘exchange,' rather than study abroad, because we're really focusing on the students being able to exchange the classes they take overseas for credits here at the University," McMillin said. "Our summer classes offer a lot of technical electives, which give students the opportunity to select from more class options for the short term and still be able to have the exchange experience. It's an experience that provides a wealth of life lessons in addition to an education."

Overall, McMillin is excited to see the amount of students who participate in the exchange program grow and bring back stories that inspire others to study in a foreign country.

"We're really building an international exchange student alumni," McMillin said. "Every time students come back with stories about how much they learned and how much they saw, other students hear that and want to experience it. Now students have more times and classes to choose from."

You can learn more about the summer engineering exchange program and the schools involved by visiting their website, and you can reach out to Julia McMillin at juliamcmillin@unr.edu for any additional questions.

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