UMD: A Globally Connected University

Katie Edwards

Program: ENGR Exchange: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Term: Spring 2016

Studying abroad had a deep impact on my personal goals, my career goals, and my outlook on the world. I met so many fascinating people and faced many challenges in my host university as well as outside the classroom. The lessons that I am taking away from my semester abroad are not going to leave me anytime soon. I have a deeper appreciation for small familiarities and an enhanced desire to seek out knowledge and expand my understanding of our global society.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: As an engineering student, many people think it's impossible, or at least very daunting to try and study abroad. My best advice to any student, but especially to engineers, is to start planning early, and don't give up!! I knew I wanted to go to Spain, but it wasn't a common destination for past civil engineering students so I put in a lot of effort early to researching classes that I could take, and organizing the rest of my 7 semesters here at Maryland to appropriately sequence my courses. I also didn't settle for the first study abroad location that was remotely feasible. You can decide where you want to go. I am earning a minor in International Engineering, and I will graduate on time with my Civil Engineering degree. It is possible.

My most memorable experience was taking a road trip through the South of France and the Northern coast of Spain. A friend and I rented a car and spent a weekend exploring some of the most incredible cities in Europe, and we paid a visit to the world's tallest and longest cable bridge: something that I learned about in my first semester as a Civil Engineering student. It's in Millau, France, and while I was studying only a few hours away in Madrid I just had to pay a visit!! It was remarkable to experience so many cities in one trip, and I loved the simplicity of driving through the countryside just as much as the evenings in our destination cities.

Study abroad will challenge you in ways that you could never expect, and will give you experiences and lessons that are truly impossible to learn here in College Park. It's very appealing to employers, but more importantly, it's extremely beneficial for your personal development as a global citizen to embark on this kind of adventure. It's the kind of opportunity you won't see again in your life, and something to take full advantage of in this unique time as a university student.