Exchange program in Czech Republic offers win-win for IMSE students
When Garrett Sanders heard about other industrial engineering students’ study abroad experiences during his freshman year, he knew it was something he wanted to pursue.
A junior from Lexington, Mo., Sanders had never been outside the U.S. before spending last spring at Czech Technical University in Prague.
“When I learned that it wouldn’t put me behind, that I could study abroad and stay on schedule, I had to learn more,” Sanders said. “It was a win-win. I saved money, I took classes, and I was in Europe. There was no losing.”
Many industrial engineering students have taken advantage of K-State’s exchange program with Czech Technical University, which offers in-state tuition and pre-approved transfer courses.
Yet much of the learning that takes place while studying abroad happens beyond the classroom.
“I learned a lot about myself,” Anna Pyle, a senior from Shawnee who also studied in the Czech Republic, said. “When I first got there, I didn’t know anyone and didn’t know the language. You learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
Conquering the challenges that come with navigating foreign countries, Pyle said, could serve as an advantage for students when transitioning to the workplace. “It shows that we’re adventurous. We can be flexible and handle any situation that’s thrown at us,” she said.
“Learning to communicate with someone in a completely foreign country—that’s huge for IEs,” Sanders said.
And Sanders and Pyle didn’t just become comfortable navigating the Czech Republic. Taking advantage of relatively cheap travel costs and flexible class schedules, they often spent their weekends travelling across Europe with fellow study abroad students from K-State and all over the world.
Between the two of them, Sanders and Pyle visited Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, England, Italy and more.
“You could just go anywhere,” Sanders said.
Sanders is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and the Sigma Alpha Pi National Society of Leadership and Success. Pyle serves as treasurer for K-State’s Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers chapter, and is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and Order of Omega.
Photo (above, left) courtesy of Garrett Sanders: Study abroad students Greg Ensom, University of Massachusetts; Kelsi Sheely, a senior in electrical engineering; Garrett Sanders, a junior in industrial engineering; Elie Daou, University of Massachusetts; and Ty Brickell, a junior in mechanical engineering at the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest.
Photo (above, right) courtesy of Anna Pyle: Industrial engineering senior Anna Pyle at the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.