Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

International Engineering: Collaboration on Hydrologic Modeling Applications in Central Mexico


The following paragraphs are responses to the question "Why do you feel this experience was the highlight of your academic preparation?"

  1. The study abroad experience was the most rewarding college class I took. I was challenged to complete a real life engineering problem. This was one of the few experiences that I had while in college.


  1. In many or most ways I would say that it was primarily because it allowed for a non-textbook problem to be solved using the skills we had learned during our years of schooling.  Where some were lacking, others were able to step in and supply the help needed.  With the exception of completing a thesis that has required hands on experience, this program was the only other real-life situation I was able to become involved in.


  1. I feel that way because of the fact I was able to use my skills on a real world problem. There wasn't a right or wrong answer, rather good vs. better which is how the real world is. I was able to work with a lot of good people both here and there. There was a wide variety of experience and levels of knowledge. The faculty both here and there were outstanding, not just in their knowledge of the project and the technical things, but in their ability to interact with the students. Dr. Nelson is great because he is a real human with a sense of humor and life outside of school. Conversely, most professors I have dealt with here at BYU could take a lesson or two in that department. The faculty in Mexico were wonderful as well. I felt like I put my skills to use. I didn't just do a homework problem, but I learned from this experience and put it to good use. I did as the motto for BYU suggests: enter to learn, go forth to serve. I've served a lot since I have been here, but I already knew how to do that. This was something I learned here and put to good use in making people's lives better. Anyone who has ever been around after a disaster knows what the ensuing chaos and emotions are like and to know that the work we did potentially eliminated that for some people meant a lot to me.


  1. My experience in the study abroad class was incredible. First of all, Dr. Nelson did a wonderful job of putting the class and projects together and helping us to set and reach the goals that we needed to to be successful in fulfilling the overall purpose of the program this year. Secondly, I learned a lot of lessons that will be very applicable to my future career. I should say that I am probably not going to be dealing with any of the technical issues that I dealt with in the class, at least not for a long time. I am a structural engineer. However, the lessons I learned about teamwork and communication, not to mention the opportunity to see engineering from a different cultural/national perspective was very enlightening to me. I think that the experience I had in that class will (hopefully) save me a lot of time and effort down the road, simply because I have gained a better understanding of how to more effectively work in a group and communicate with my leaders and my peers. Those principles are probably some of the most important things that I think students need to learn before entering their careers. I thought that this class taught these principles in


  1. It felt like a real "capstone" to the engineering curriculum.  It was a good way to transition for school to the workplace.  The experience helped to broaden my cultural awareness.


  1. It helped me to understand the world better, especially how engineers from other countries work and interact.  This has been especially important as my graduate studies included working with many international students.


  1. Because, this experience let me learn how to work as a team.


  1. It was a highlight because I got to see engineering in action.  We were dealing with real problems and solving them with engineering.  It was also wonderful to experience another culture, even though I didn't know Spanish.


  1. It was a highlight of my academic preparation.  I feel it was beneficial but not crucial to my preparation.


  1. We had a lot of great memories while we were there.  The research, and implementation of the projects in that environment really helped me see how our work could influence our society and especially improve the conditions in other countries.


  1. During the four years I attended BYU and studied civil engineering, I never had as great an opportunity to apply what I learned in my classes to the real world as I did with this class.  All my other classes were focused on how to solve the problems on paper, in a technical textbook sort of way, and this class taught me how to solve real world problems (that cannot be answered using a textbook) through brainstorming and creativity based on my knowledge of engineering, all while taking into consideration cultural, monetary, and other limitations.  My other classes helped me gain knowledge of engineering, and this class helped me apply that knowledge before I was thrown out into the world after I graduated.  Now that I have been working as an engineer for a civil engineering company, I already have some experience working with certain limitations like this. 


  1. I really appreciated the opportunity to practice engineering in a real-life setting. Doing it in the context of a foreign culture helped my understand how to relate to engineers in other cultures.


  1. It's a hard choice, as there was so many great opportunities and teaching moments, but as far as one experience, to see engineering in action and a cultural experience, this tops the list.


  1. This experience was much more like a real work environment.  A group of engineers with different prior experience was put together and asked to solve a real problem that didn't have a set solution.  It was more challenging, but at the same time, much more fun.  I learned all types of skills rather than just calculating out the answer to a typical text book engineering problem.  It also increased my understanding of how engineers can help people in need around the world.


  1. It was definitely one of the highlights.


  1. It was a highlight of my academic experience. And It would seem in the ever shrinking world that international experience in some way or another should become a requirement.


  1. As I said before, it was a great opportunity to go down to Mexico and use the knowledge we have gained to help and collaborate with others so that their lives can be enriched.  It was great to meet some of the kids down there and build relationships with them.  We emailed back and forth for a while, which reminds me that I need to send them an email.


  1. I think that this was a great opportunity that helped me become a more well-rounded individual and a more capable engineer.  My only reservation, not knowing the language, was that I wish that I could have contributed more while in the country.


  1. This is real experience.  Applied experience.  On this trip I developed a level of confidence and excitement for my career than I have at any other time during my undergraduate work.


  1. I think the Mexico trip was a highlight in that it was a chance to apply principles from class to real world situations.  It was also very helpful in learning to communicate better with coworkers and it was really really fun.


  1. It wasn't just another class.  It was an opportunity to see real-life engineering issues, and to apply some of our knowledge to these issues.  It was a very educational and fun trip that greatly enhanced my education.


  1. This experience allowed for meaningful practical application of the principles I have been studying for the past few years.  It also helped me realize the direct influence civil engineers could potentially have on society.  The trip was also very fun.


  1. It allowed a real-world outlet for our engineering knowledge, and the trip to Mexico was both fun and perspective changing.


  1. There were academic experiences that followed that provided more preparation.  I was lacking some of the technical knowledge at the time that I participated in the study abroad experience.


  1. The international trips we went on were something I really looked forward to.  I felt like I was doing something important and I hope to have more similar opportunities someday in the future.


  1. I do still feel that way because it's much more valuable to accomplish something as a team, both for the sake of the product and for the sake of individual team member development, than it is to do everything on your own.  This experience taught me more about this than any other academic experience.


  1. I felt that this experience gave me an opportunity to apply the knowledge that I have gained throughout my years of school. It also gave me an opportunity to work on an international project that taught me how to deal with other cultures and systems. The world is becoming smaller and being able to cross borders in a professional setting is becoming essential to being successful.


  1. I think this could have been the highlight of my academic experience if their was sufficient data to complete the engineering problem selected.


  1. Before taking the class, I was burned out by engineering classwork and did not know why I was studying to be a civil engineer.  The Mexico class showed me how important civil engineers are in the world and renewed my enthusiasm for my studies.


  1. It was a culmination of events that made this experience the highlight.  There was travel, hard work, fun, groupwork, and an open-endedness that allowed the class to be what I made it.  It was a class and a project, but it was a break from the monotony of four years of sole classwork.  The project could have been about anything, but being able to see that project have a possible effect in other lives who may be less fortunate was what made this program special.


  1. I feel that the vision of helping other people who augmented and that civil engineers are sorely needed in the international community.  Visiting Mexico and learning of their cultural was a unique experience one could never learn in a classroom setting.  Trying to communicate in Spanish regarding a technical subject was difficult, but as the world continues to "expand" one needs to be able to so and communicate effectively.


  1. The opportunity to attend Brigham Young University was an exceptional experience in and of itself.  The study abroad experience gave me the extraordinary opportunity to travel and participate in a culturally diverse teaching environment while still being part of the academic setting.