Petra Lieber

IPE Peer Advisor

Major: Industrial & Operations Engineering

Minor: International Minor for Engineers

International ExperienceInternational Engineering Summer School at Berlin University of Technology in Berlin, Germany - Summer 2016, Goethe Institut, Schwaebisch Hall, Germany - Summer 2016

Why did you choose to study abroad when/where you did?

I had been learning German for a while, and wanted to practice the language and experience the culture. I thought that summer after my freshman year would be the best time, since there was no rush to get an internship or do other things at this point.

What was one of the most memorable experiences from your time abroad?

Something that I always remember is an International Buffet we had in Schwaebisch Hall, when each of the program's participants cooked something from their countries and me and my friends got to enjoy a great meal together.

What was one of the biggest surprises about the location, culture or other aspects of your program?

The biggest obstacle was probably getting sick right at the beginning of the trip, and having to miss some excursions. Everything turned out alright in the end, though :)

How do the skills and experience you gained abroad set you apart as a professional engineer?

Studying abroad helped me understand how knowledge can be applied in different ways, depending on where you are, and now I feel confident I could do an internship abroad and succeed, for example. The assignments also served as a good reflection on the cultural differences between the US and Germany, which helped me understand the people I was working with.

What advice would you like to give to a student interested in an international experience?

Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, even if that is just a different dish. You would be surprised how much more you will learn about the place you are in.

How did your time abroad impact your graduation timeline?

Unlike what many people think, studying abroad didn't mean I would have to stay in Michigan more than 4 years. In fact, I was able to take 12 intellectual breadth credits abroad, which made my remaining semesters in Michigan a lot lighter.