Mechanical Engineering Study Abroad Programs in Germany - Experiences and Lessons Learned

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings


This paper discusses the continued developments and the current status of study abroad programs for the mechanical engineering students at Kettering University. In particular, this paper outlines the study exchange with schools in Germany in which there is an equal number of students in exchange over two or three year span between the Kettering University and the participating schools in Germany. Also, this paper discusses in detail about the assessment and evaluation tools for study abroad programs. Programs at other countries such as Australia and Mexico are also available to the Kettering University students, while efforts are under way to explore opportunities in other parts of Europe and in Asia. Such study abroad programs provide an opportunity and promote understanding across technical programs and other nations. Kettering University's engineering academic and cooperative education make it unique among Engineering Schools in the United States. One of the main purposes of the international programs is to provide students value-added technical and cultural experiences. It has been well documented that engineering students who have international study experience are more likely to be hired and prepared for the global market place. During the last three years, the Kettering University study abroad programs have been steadily growing with over 90 engineering students per year participating in study abroad programs in Germany alone. Under these study programs, the students typically live abroad for three to six months and interact with other international students, professors and in some cases industry employers from different cultures and academic and industrial traditions. Students return from these experiences feeling happy, confident and knowledgeable about the world in addition to having a broader technical understanding of their fields of study. This paper will discuss the current process at Kettering University of setting up of study abroad programs, new international programs structure, course mapping and course equivalency, students' advisement, grading differences, student expectations, role of the faculty advisors, program assessment and finally, the lessons learned for continuous improvements of such programs. Technical Universities that wish to start new study abroad programs and those who already have study exchange in place would benefit from the experiences, findings and recommendations presented in this paper.




Copyright © American Society for Engineering Education, 2007.