Class of 2010
Hometown: East Providence, RI
Majors: Civil & Environmental Engineering & Spanish
Study Abroad: Universidad de Cantabria, Fall 2008
Internship: IDOM in Bilbao, Spain, Spring 2009
When I was a student at Tulane University and looking to transfer, I visited several universities in different parts of the U.S. looking specifically for an institution that would offer me the chance to see another part of my own country while studying in both a reputable engineering program and a Spanish program that would allow me to study abroad. At the universities that I visited, I never really felt any compulsion to enroll in their particular programs. What brought me back to URI and the IEP, in the end, was the fact that the IEP takes the guesswork out of the process by offering a fully planned curriculum and internship opportunities in reputable companies.
Living in the IEP House, I have met people with whom I have formed close friendships. The program provides an environment that is very conducive to this. You find yourself living with a large number of people whom you might not otherwise meet but with whom you share a lot of interests. As a transfer student, I found that this made for a very easy transition.
I am currently working at IDOM, a civil-environmental engineering company. I am working on geotechnical concerns for an underground parking garage for the City Hall of Bilbao. It’s interesting to be working the same sort of problems that I learned in classes for real scenarios and in another language. My bosses as well as the other people working here have all been really helpful with any questions that I have had, and I’m finding it to be a comfortable atmosphere.
As part of preparation for graduating and going out to be a real, professional engineer, I have participated in a handful of mock interviews, and they always ask, “Why are you best suited to this position? What can you offer that sets you apart?” and I have always responded in anticipation, “I believe that my experiences studying and working abroad have prepared me very well by providing me with alternative ways of looking at problems, as the approaches used in other countries to overcome the same obstacles are often unique compared with our own.” Now that I’m actually abroad I can say firsthand that that is true. In the last six months I’ve spent here, I’ve learned how to be independent in a way that studying in the U.S. never taught me. It’s a really dynamic process trying to interact with people and take care of the day-to-day in a language that isn’t your own.