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From the summer 2003 edition of Purdue Engineering Extrapolations

Study Abroad

A Purdue senior on his semester Down Under

Dustin Ruh has a newfound respect for engineering education in Australia after spending a semester at the University of New South Wales. The senior in materials science and engineering spent the spring semester of his sophomore year at the Australian university, just outside Sydney.

Dustin Ruh
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"I felt there might not be a lot of materials programs out there that offer the same kinds of courses that we offer," Ruh says. "I think a lot of people don’t realize that all of these other countries have just as prestigious engineering programs as Purdue, and they offer the same kinds of courses."

He says the study-abroad experience gave him a different orientation in learning materials engineering.

"The instruction here emphasizes more theory, especially during your sophomore year, whereas when I went over there, I learned more about practical applications in the engineering class I took. Each day our professor would come in and give us a problem to solve."

Studying in another country is beneficial to any good engineer, Ruh adds, "because it gives you a better perspective of industry on the global scale. By seeing products engineered in other parts of the world, you can develop different design skills that you might not have appreciated by staying in the States."

Another highlight of Ruh’s classroom experience was a course in the history of Australian sports, which gave him a real taste of Australian culture: "The professor was great because he set up the class so that he not only talked about Australian sports, but he talked a lot about the history and culture of Australia too."

Ruh sums up his study-abroad semester this way: "a life-shaping experience."

Writer: Jennifer Streisand

Photo: Vincent Walter

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