INSA Strasbourg welcomes for the second time a group of engineering students from Syracuse University in the State of New York for a semester abroad. In fall 2017, 15 students from different engineering fields participate in the study abroad program offered thanks to a partnership with the Syracuse University Study Abroad Center in Strasbourg.

You will fnd below an interview of Jamie Wilson, a 19- year-old from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the United States of America who takes part in the program. As a second-year student at Syracuse University in New York, she majors in civil engineering and minors in architecture. In the future, she hopes to have a career that combines both engineering and architecture in the field and in the office.

What motivated you to participate in the SU study abroad program with INSA Strasbourg ?
I always wanted to study abroad during college, and because I have studied the German language for a few years in school, I wanted to go somewhere that was close to Germany, or spoke German. I also wanted to learn French and discover the French culture. Therefore I was very grateful that the program could offer me the opportunity to practice German and French with my host family which speaks both languages in every day life. I also wanted to see what university classes were like in different countries.

What kind of courses have you taken in Strasbourg ?
I have taken Statics, Physics, Calculus 3, and French 1 during my time in Strasbourg.

Which was the language of instruction ?
All of the courses were taught in English.

What are the educational differences you have noticed? Did the professors in Strasbourg have different approaches?
Here in Strasbourg, many of the professors expected us to come to class having already read the material for that day’s class. It was interesting because in Syracuse, the lectures are used to teach the material for the first time, then afterwards, the students must go home and review it.

What did you particularly like in Strasbourg ?
I went to listen to the philharmonic orchestra at Palais de la Musique et des Congress in Strasbourg. They played Christian Lindberg and Ludwig van Beethoven. It was fantastic! It was also very nice to stroll around the Christmas markets with all the light decorations and the giant Christmas tree. I really enjoyed the architecture of the cathedral and the center city buildings, because the buildings in America are not nearly as old.

Did you have the opportunity to visit other places in Europe?
Yes, during the semester I had the chance to go to the following cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague, Florence, Munich, Brussels, and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting all of them.

What did you gain from your time in Strasbourg?
After spending a semester in Strasbourg, I have started my French language skills, as well as greatly improved my German language skills. I also have a broader perspective in general, after seeing how life is halfway across the world. Even though we all live in different places and speak different languages, we are all so similar.

What advice would you like to give to future exchange students?
Study abroad is all about stepping out of your comfort zone. While living in a foreign country, there are many things that are unfamiliar. I think it is important to try to fully immerse yourself in the culture and the language. This helps you to develop your soft skills, which are also important for future careers. This is especially interesting in a border city like Strasbourg in the heart of Europe, because you get to experience different cultures at the same time. Even more so because various European Institutions are hosted here.

crédit photo : Ethan Cohen

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