Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Going back to Europe!

The spring semester is halfway over, so summer is quickly approaching! The snow is melting and the sidewalks are clear, but knowing Michigan, it will probably get cold again. I have finally decided on something I am going to do this summer. Two months from now, I will be in Europe as a part of the International Corporate Tour.

The International Corporate Tour (ICT) is a two-week experience for freshmen and sophomores in business and engineering. It is an opportunity for students to visit some of MSU's international corporate partners, network with them, and tour their facilities. There is no homework, but this learning experience does NOT count for course credit. In each of the destinations, there will be at least one free day to explore the city. There are two ICTs this summer: one in Europe and another in China. As part of the Europe ICT, London, Cologne, Luxembourg, Geneva, and Venice are some of the cities we will be visiting. Some of the companies we are planning on visiting are BP, GM, Eaton,  ArcelorMittal, Bosch, Diageo, and ALCOA.

I think that a program like the ICT definitely has its advantages. A lot of people forget that you have to do homework when you study abroad. I spent the two weeks after I returned home from my trip finishing up all my homework. You may not get class credit for an ICT, but you can focus on all of the company visits and exploring cities without worrying about any homework. Also, I have to do minimal planning for the trip. I just have to pay the cost of the trip, buy my plane ticket, and attend a few informational meetings. They even suggested a flight so that we could travel with the group, which  made finding a flight really easy. I do not have to worry about any of the logistics, like lodging and travel, which would be necessary if I planned a trip to Europe on my own.

I already have some international experience on my resume from my study abroad last summer, and I think that a lot of companies were impressed. I have been asked to elaborate on my study abroad at career fairs and during interviews, so I know that it is definitely something they look at. A lot of companies that have presented at club meetings have international opportunities for engineers, such as rotations abroad as a part of a rotational program. I have been to London and Venice before, but I haven't been to any of the other cities. My family and I went to London almost 6 years ago for a family vacation, and I went to Venice last summer during the free weekend of my study abroad trip.

I took this picture last summer when I visited Venice, Italy
I am looking forward to going back to Europe, especially because I had so much fun last summer! Visiting all of these countries and facilities will help me see in what kind of environment I would like to live and work. Michigan State University has a variety of international experiences available, you just have to choose which one is right for you!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Back from Break

Last week was Spring Break for Michigan State. A lot of people I know went to Florida and Mexico, but I just went back home to cold Brighton. The weather here hasn't decided if it wants to be spring or winter. The past two days the snow was melting, but right now it looks like a blizzard! Everything is white, and I really do not want to walk to class in this weather! One of the most random things I had to get used to when I came to college was that I had to actually walk outside and cross the street to get to class. In high school I wore heels since all my classes were in the same building, but that doesn't happen anymore! Now that I am deeper in my engineering curriculum, a lot of my classes are in and near the Engineering Building, but I am still not going to wear high heals to class anytime soon.

One important part of choosing a college is the faculty. The faculty are the people who will be teaching you classes, writing recommendation letters, and maybe even giving you a campus job if you work in a lab or grading papers. I like learning from people who are very involved in and excited about what they do, and most of the engineering faculty I know are like this. A lot of the professors are involved with a lot of cool projects at the university and national level. I like hearing about all of the interesting things that Michigan State and its professors are involved in, so I thought that maybe you would be, too.

Mechanical Engineering professor Farhang Pourboghrat went to the White House at the end of last month for the president's announcement on a new Detroit manufacturing institute. Canton Township will be home to the new Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute which will bring about 10,000 new jobs to the area. The $148 million Department of Defense institute will be supported by $70 million of federal funding and the rest will be supported by consortium partners. Here is the link to the full article with the list of university, corporate, and organizational sponsors:
Farhang Pourboghrat