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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI International Engineering Program wins
$20,000 prize from German government

KINGSTON, R.I. -- June 7, 2001 -- The German Academic Exchange Service, a branch of the German government, has recognized the International Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Rhode Island as a model for student exchange programs and awarded it with its edu.de Cooperation Prize 2001. The $20,000 award, funded by Germany’s European Recovery Program, will be used to expand the IEP’s scholarship fund to attract highly-talented students to the program.

The Cooperation Prize is designed to reward innovative approaches to international education and the expansion of study abroad programs. The selection committee included international education experts, German Embassy officials, and representatives from German industry.

"They were especially interested in our program because we are successfully exchanging good numbers of German-speaking engineering students each year. That’s very unusual," said John Grandin, URI professor of languages and director of the International Engineering Program. "There are other schools sending engineers abroad, but usually without any language training, which means they are restricted to opportunities where all work is done in English."

The URI program enrolls 110 students in German and an additional 60 students in French and Spanish, and it has become the nationally recognized model for the internationalization of engineering education.

Students in URI’s program major in both engineering and a foreign language, and they complete a semester of study abroad as well as a six-month professional internship in their chosen country. Approximately 20 URI students each year spend their semester abroad at Technische Universitat Braunschweig in Germany and then intern at such companies as Volkswagen, Siemens, Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa.

"Because our students do both a semester of study and an internship, they return from Germany with excellent language skills and a strong knowledge of the culture in both an academic and industrial setting," Grandin said.

The award was presented by the secretary general of the German Academic Exchange Service during the annual conference of the Association of International Educators in Philadelphia on May 30.

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For more information, Todd McLeish 874-7892, or John Grandin 874-4700

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