Within the next hour, I will be on one of 3 connecting flights on my way to Toulouse, France, to spend the next 6 weeks taking classes in Aerospace Engineering, acquainting myself with some of the top Aerospace firms in Europe, and learning more about French Culture. While I’m not a stranger to traveling abroad, I can’t deny that I’m a bit anxious and excited to be traveling to Europe once again. It’s a continent filled with diverse cultures and people and filled with some of the most fascinating stories about the history of the countries that reside in it.
Last summer I travelled to Madrid, Spain for a similar program. I did research in Nuclear Fuel Management with the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid as well took a course in language in culture in Spain. It was one of the best experiences in my life. I’ve learned more about diverse cultures and people, public interactions, business, and engineering in that one trip that I had my entire life. You can see my blog from last year here. This summer I hope to experience something similar, but on an entirely new level.
This summer I will be taking courses in Aircraft Structures, Transport, Combustion, and Propulsion at the École Nationale Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace. (ISAE) in Toulouse, France. We will be visiting several aerospace companies in the region including Airbus, Rockwell Collins, Interspace, Leibherr Aerospace, Honeywell, and several more. The GEA Summer program in Toulouse consists of about 30 aerospace students from around the world and aims to bring a diverse group of students together and to introduce them to a world of international engineering.
In addition, I will be working on a photography project while abroad. “Le Projet Francais” aims to clearly differentiate social identities within different cultures. I plan on interviewing students, professors, and parents, and comparing and contrasting their day to day lives with their counterparts in the United States. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned abroad is that having an open mind about culture differences and acknowledging those differences is key to learning more about your own culture and applying that to other aspects of your life.
I may be a bit anxious and excited as I board this flight, but I look forward to the immense amount of knowledge and adventure that awaits me. Be sure to keep checking the site often for updates, I will be posting them whenever I’m available. Thank you to my friends and family who have supported me in this journey!