By Kate Kurtin
For many students, the road to a career in engineering entails hours upon hours spent in a lab, an internship, or stuck in a textbook. Junior Computer Science & Engineering student David Mittelman has set out to pursue a different educational path. As a non-traditional student (he has attended three colleges and spent time in the Navy before entering UConn), David has a different outlook on his imminent career search than many of his peers. “Engineering is such a career-oriented program, that most students don’t take time out to do other things,” David said. To enrich his education, David has set his sights on traveling the world. First stop: Leeds, United Kingdom. His ticket to Leeds: The Global Engineering Education Exchange (Global E3).
Global E3 was created in 1995 as a way for engineering and computer science students to attend college abroad while earning credit at home. The School of Engineering joined the consortium of participating universities in 2008 and so far has had modest interest in the program due to the rigor of studies that our students are undertaking. For David, however, it was an obvious choice. “Students should definitely go abroad. Studying abroad may be the only time students are able to go to another country and possibly have it all paid for by loans, grants, or parents,” David said. David’s studies are paid for by the G.I. Bill, and he applied and was accepted to be a Sub-Warden (British version of a Resident Advisor) at the University of Leeds to cover his living expenses.
David’s advice for students interested in these opportunities is to start planning early. “If you plan in advance, like the freshman or sophomore year, then there will be no problem with coursework credit and being on track to graduate,” David explains. David admits that most engineering students have difficulty seeing past the next semester. That is where UConn faculty and staff come in, helping students plan their international experience. David worked with Brian Schwartz, Undergraduate Academic Advisor, and Marcelle (Marty) Wood, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education and Diversity, to work out the details. “In the end both Brian and Marty were very supportive of this opportunity. They told me to take the classes that most interested me and when I return we will work on translating them into courses offered at UConn,” David said.
One thing that separates David from his peers is his thirst for time and travel. “When I was in the Navy I had free time, but what frustrated me the most was restricted travel,” David remarked. “It made me realize, one, that I had a real need to travel, and two, that while I was in the Navy, my time wasn’t my own,” he concluded. From this realization, he set out to travel as much as possible and to “travel to every country in the world!”
David will be documenting his experiences at the University of Leeds. To keep up with him, visit A Husky Abroad. If you would like to learn more about the many study abroad opportunities at UConn visit, http://www.engr.uconn.edu/studyabroad.php.