The College of Engineering’s most recent Study Abroad trip saw 19 students travel to Italy to take in the sights, culture and the ENGR 3000: Global Leadership for Engineers course.
The compact “May-mester” course allowed students to grow their leadership skills while building their cultural competence and broaden their global horizons — one of several ways Mizzou Engineering works hard to build not just engineers, but future engineering leaders ready to tackle problems on a worldwide scale.
“I did not fully appreciate how connected international business was until my internship this summer,” Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering student Adam Rushing said. “The guy to my left was on the phone doing business in Bogota, Colombia, at the same time as the guy on my right was doing business in Dublin, Ireland. They both had to understand the cultural differences in each place, and how that was going to impact the business interaction. Because of that, they both had to conduct their calls differently, although they were both working on very similar projects.
“Having the culture knowledge of knowing how to approach situations based on who you are dealing with and where they are from is very important and might just help you land the big international client in the future.”
During their time in Italy, participants were treated to a lecture on virtual reality advances and computer engineering at the Politecnico in Milan and given a tour of their wind tunnel, which is used by researchers and developers for testing wind engineering applications on large-scale models of civil structures, transport vehicles and other products in the field of aeronautics.
Students also received an in-depth tour of the Colosseum in Rome with a discussion on the construction methods used during the 1st century CE when it was built.
“Other highlights included a visit to a hands-on museum of the engineering machines invented by Leonardo da Vinci in Florence,” MU Engineering International Outreach Coodrinator Lindsey Wisnewski said. “Students were able to see these machines in action and even attempt to reconstruct small-scale civil projects he developed during his lifetime.”
The Mizzou cohort also had the chance to take a cooking class in the Tuscan countryside — where they learned to make homade pasta and gnocchi — a tour of museums in Vatican City and Rome, a visit to the Sistine Chapel and a day trip to Venice.
“Cultural exchange isn’t just an exchange of history or art; it’s the understanding and inclusion of those innate cultural perspectives to make us more fundamentally driven as leaders here in and out of the classroom,” Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student Kristen Howorka said.