Direct application of your education
"The study abroad trip to Mexico was very exciting because I was able to directly apply the concepts I had learned in hydrology, hydraulics, fluid mechanics, and enviromental engineering as well as use the little engineering judgement I had developed as I participated in the rest of my engineering classes. Before this class, I had been thinking that if practicing engineering was as much work and as unpleasant as my homework, I may not want to be an engineer after all. This class allowed me to work on solving a real problem from the ground up. I was surprised and pleased to discover that I really enjoyed the work I was doing. This class renewed my enthusiasm for being an engineer. It also gave me the spark I needed to finish school with a good attitude."
Opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise
"The number one purpose of our trip in Mexico was to share our knowledge about hydrologic processes. Not only did we share our expertise with them about WMS software, but they shared with us their expertise of the problems they are facing in Mexico. These projects that we developed in Mexico made me feel that I was finally applying my academic knowledge to a real life situation. It is an experience that no one can have in a four wall classroom."
Learning Spanish in the Engineering Profession
"Most students are able to converse fairly well in the terminology of engineering terms in their native language. In doing this they sometimes know only one way to explain a concept and usually do it using sophisticated words that they have learned in class. However, when the time comes to teach those concepts in a language not your own, the technical lingo is perhaps over-rated, but still important. The opportunity for me to learn to express technical topics in spanish brought a new insight into my own understanding of engineering terms and their meaning. As I conversed with students who were only vaguely familiar with the equations, programs and concepts I had been working with for a long time I found it difficult at first to explain what those concepts meant in a way that they could understand it. In doing this I found that I had to know, on a very basic level, what those concepts meant. Knowing a second language is a wonderful skill and should be used whenever and wherever the opportunity is available. Explaining hydrology in spanish was a feat I had never before attempted, but I came away with a better understanding of hydrology in english in the end."
Learn how to work as a team
"The collaboration projects in Mexico helped each student learn more effectively the role of team work. The old adage that “two brains are better than one” held true to its roots as the planning and carrying out of the models was put into practice. This was evidenced throughout the semester via frequent contact and sharing of data with our colleagues and professors in Mexico, with the culminating group work done during our personal visit."
Vision of how you can make a difference in the world
"The opportunity to work in a region where developments and advancement in water resources can truly change the quality of life is amazing. It gives a great sense of accomplishment."
Professor-student mentored learning
"Because of the small number of students in the class there was a great opportunity for one-on-one learning and instruction with Dr. Nelson throughout the semester. The ability for us to recieve this type of instruction greatly enhanced the educational experience as well as our knowledge of the material."