How did you find your internship?
My internship was largely project based. Each intern was given their own project to work on to help improve the vehicle manufacturing process. Specifically, my project was focused on the implementation of a real-time location tracking system during vehicle production, as well as contributing to the company's efforts to implement human-robot collaboration on the assembly line. I worked 9+ hours a day, 5 days a week. All interns from the UofM were encouraged to work together as well as collaborate with company employees. I worked with employees in the World-Class Manufacturing Department, Fiat Chrysler's center for research, and factory workers. During my internship, I helped oversee the implementation of the real-time location system into the Mirafiori production plant in Turin and wrote a thesis based on the entirety of this project.
-Familiar with Industry 4.0 concepts and technologies -Experience with World-Class and Digital manufacturing concepts
From my experience abroad, I have learned how valuable the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is. Although everyone spoke English at the FCA office in Turin, there was still somewhat of a language barrier between the UofM interns and the native Italian speakers. Because of this, I discovered how important it is to be clear in explanations of your logic, especially when complex engineering projects are involved. This required me to have a strong grasp on each topic I discussed and greatly improved my communication skills.
Advice for Engineering Students:
Based on my experience abroad, the first piece of advice I would give students is to try to become somewhat familiar with the language of the country you are visiting. I believe that if I had a base knowledge of Italian, this could have made me even more effective and helpful to FCA, as well as streamline communication. I would also tell students to be as open as you can to adjusting to the lifestyle of that country. When you're in a different country, even one like Italy that is fairly similar to the US, there are always certain elements of the culture and lifestyle that will be different than what you are familiar with. I found that I really began to feel at home when I was fully able to immerse myself into the typical lifestyle of Turin.
Memorable Moment/Challenging Situation:
I found that I had the most trouble with the language barrier during my international experience. During my internship, a fellow UofM intern and I spent about 2 days a week at the Fiat Center for Research, which was in a different and farther location than our usual office. On our first day traveling home from the research center, we missed the bus that would take us to our accommodations. After waiting about 45 minutes for another bus, decided to try to ask a local if they knew how we could get home. Despite not knowing any Italian and the limited knowledge of English of the person we consulted, they were able to help us find our way home, demonstrating to me how you can effectively communicate no matter the situation.
Best Part of Your Experience:
Overall, my international experience was incredible. I was able to travel to new places, learn new things and meet new people. Best of all, I was able to form international relationships with people from all over the world. From the friendships I formed in Turin and elsewhere, I know I have friends and resources in multiple cities, regions, and countries and look forward to where these connections could take me in the future.
Photo Title & Location:
Final Day at FCA Turin, Italy
This photo was taken on my last day at the FCA World Class Manufacturing office following the final presentations for our internship.