By Dorothy Cheng
The University of Minnesota has the largest study abroad program in the nation. This means our students have countless opportunities to study, research, intern, and work abroad in almost every corner of the world.
The College of Science and Engineering strongly encourages all of our students to travel abroad, whether they take classes, work, or just have fun and experience new cultures.
When I started college, I knew I wanted to study abroad but it wasn't on the forefront of my mind. I didn't start planning it until the middle of my second year. At that point, I was working on a double major and I had a full class schedule. I was applying for full-time summer jobs and considering taking classes over the summer as well. I didn't have time to leave the country for a semester, a year, or even a whole summer. I was really happy to learn about study abroad programs called Global Seminars.
Global seminars are three-week programs which take place during May term. I left for my global seminar the day after my last spring final and got back two days before summer classes and my summer research job started. I was able to take an electrical engineering class in China! I traveled with about 19 other U of M students and two professors. Here are some of my fellow CSE travel companions on the Great Wall:
That was an incredible view! We spent three weeks traveling through China, starting in Beijing, then taking a train to Shanghai, and a bus to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. We spent about a week in each city.
While we weren't checking out the sites, eating delicious food, and exploring markets, we toured nanotechnology labs at major universities. As a math and statistics student, I didn't know anything about electrical engineering before taking this class. Nanotechnology is a fascinating subject. I not only learned about a new culture, I also learned about a new field!
My favorite university that we toured is the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The campus is beautiful, and due to weather in Hong Kong, is very open and breezy. The university is also built right on the sea so there are amazing views. I was warned not to go swimming in the water though - beware of sharks!
Global seminars are a great way to get an international experience if you have a busy schedule! I would definitely recommend beginning to plan your study abroad your freshman year. You can read about planning ahead for study abroad on the CSE website. If you want some more information about studying abroad in your major, you should visit our Learning Abroad Center website.