Though international travel is currently on hold, someday soon there will again be the opportunity for all Rutgers students—regardless of major—to have transformational experiences by studying abroad. Now is a good time for students to start planning ahead by considering what incorporating an international experience into your college career can look like.
It is common for some students to feel like studying abroad isn’t feasible for them with regard to their academic courseload. For instance, a common misconception is that STEM majors are too restricted by rigorous academic demands to participate in international experiences while in college. However, many students in Rutgers University’s School of Engineering have taken advantage of various global opportunities, including study abroad and international research. They have been able to collaborate with globally-renowned professors and scientists and make friends from around the world, all while earning credits and strengthening their resumes.
Dylan Scallo, a class of 2020 mechanical engineering student with a focus in energy, spent a semester his sophomore year studying abroad at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
“I think studying abroad is one of the coolest things you can do in college,” said Dylan. “You have this opportunity to continue your academic studies, all the while exploring a new country, learning about its culture, and really developing your interpersonal skills. I was able to take fluid mechanics, which is a junior level course. Even though it seems daunting with the number of credits and just the stress of being an engineering major, it’s possible to go abroad as an engineer.”
Class of 2020 alumna Hima Tallam studied biomedical engineering at Rutgers School of Engineering. She and her first-year roommate, an international student from China, did a summer international research internship at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China, through a stipend program from Rutgers.
“The project that I chose to work on was something I was deeply invested in,” Hima said. “It was the metabolic regulation and genetic engineering of medicinal plants under Professor Kexuan Tang and Dr. Qifang Pan. We mainly worked with Artemisia annua, a plant native to China which has received attention due to its antimalarial properties. I am a big advocate of herbal medicine and to be given an opportunity to be a part in this kind of research development was absolutely life changing.”
Fortunately, Hima’s roommate’s family lived within walking distance to their internship location in Shanghai. In addition to the rewarding research opportunity, Hima was able to explore the local culture and learn more about her best friend’s home country.
“On the weekdays, I would work on my project, and on the weekends I would travel to different places within China. I learned so much about the culture, the food, and even picked up some Mandarin while I was there. All in all, I couldn’t say that I would have been able to have an experience like this if it weren’t for Rutgers.”
Regardless of major, Rutgers Global–Study Abroad ensures that all students have access to opportunities for global learning that are academically rigorous, degree-relevant, and culturally transformative. To learn more about future opportunities if you are an engineering student, visit the School of Engineering website, and for all Study Abroad opportunities, browse our program pages.