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Nov 19, 2016 10:09 AM EST

STEM Students Go Abroad For Field Experience

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Sometimes the best schools for STEM degrees are outside the country. Students who are interested in STEM    (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) are now being urged to study abroad to pursue their dreams.

This is now possible through Global Education and Awareness Research Undergraduate Program, or GEAR UP. There are multiple advantages to studying abroad. For one Howard University engineering student, Camille Carter studied in Ethiopia, Turkey and Chile. She was able to see how other places find solutions to problems and tackle education.

In Ethiopia, Carter set up a solar power system in a village that did not have electricity. She said being able to work with a diverse group helped her. Through GEAR UP at Howard University, she was able to attend Bahir Dar University, Istanbul Technical University and Santo Tomas University in Chile.

Through GEAR UP, 125 students were able to study abroad since the program started in 2013. When she returned, Carter had to present research papers at conferences. Carter was confident because she already knew at the time what she wants to present when it comes to research and technology.

Peggy Blumenthal, a senior official at IIE, said that studying abroad is particularly beneficial to engineering students because it allows them to work with global peers. According to Blumenthal, the more people they work with outside the country, the more effective they will become as engineering professionals.

According to a study, there are about 313,000 American students went abroad during 2014 to 2015 to study STEM, cites Diverse Education.

Althoug GEAR UP does not have an internship program abroad, it is currently in the works. Blumenthal recognizes this as a need because engineering students feel that internships are required to get a good job. Which is a huge reason why many do not go abroad.

When it comes to employment, companies have offices in different countries (outside of the United States). Having the experience of working abroad is an advantage when it comes to working for these companies. Adapting to different practices, processes and environments is definitely a career advantage.

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