Study Abroad at HMC

I serve on the Study Abroad Committee at Mudd and am very interested in seeing our students experience living abroad. One of the main reasons I have written this document is to motivate you to seriously consider studying abroad because it provides such an excellent introduction to the wide wonderful world of experiences available when living outside of the United States.

Fortunately, studying abroad as a Mudd student has just gotten easier because of our new Study Abroad Web site, which details everything you might want to know. Some of the links I find most useful are listed below:

Why I Am Particularly Interested in Seeing You Live Abroad

The main reason I'm interested in seeing more students study abroad comes from my own experience as a college student. When I was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley I wanted to study abroad -- and there were certainly plenty of opportunities to do so -- but I unfortunately never managed to "find the time." One of my best friends, who took the time to seriously investigate his options while in college, ended up doing an internship in Paris, and this ultimately led to him working for this French company for four years. As a result of his experience, he will never be the same. His perspectives on leisure time, food, history, culture, community, democracy, freedom, work, etc. will forever have a not-entirely-American slant.

After I graduated, I worked as an engineer in the States for six years, and became painfully aware of how much harder it is to find opportunities to live abroad once out of the college setting (remember that, with a typical US job, you're lucky to get 2 weeks of vacation a year). As I grew older and began to travel abroad -- particularly in graduate school, where I had the opportunity to attend conferences overseas -- the regret concerning my passiveness in this decision grew and grew. After graduate school, I used this regret to force myself to apply for an international research position, and was fortunate enough to receive a year-long Fulbright research grant. Seizing this opportunity was one of the best things I have ever done, and once again, I realized first-hand just how much more viable this opportunity was because I took advantage of it while immersed in an academic setting.

Studying Abroad as an HMC Computer Science Student

Here's a list of things to consider if you plan to study abroad as a CS Major.

Its also worthwhile considering what others who have done so have to say about their experiences:

Karlsruhe, Germany: Living Abroad as a Computer Scientist

I spent my Fulbright in Karlsruhe, Germany, working at the Universitaet Karlsruhe (TH), with the Structure in Music group. Fortunately, since I didn't speak German, my colleagues were willing to interact with me in English. I found the university a vibrant place, and the research environment was of very high quality. As an academic, my time there was well spent. For example, two publications, written in collaboration with my German colleagues, were accepted in refereed international conferences (Issues in Melodic Segmentation, Melodic Segmentation: Evaluating the Performance of Algorithms and Musical Experts). Concrete accomplishments aside, there's a great deal to learn about ones work when interacting with colleagues in another country on a daily basis. For example, I learned:

Regarding personal life, I cannot overemphasize how much more enriched my experience was because I lived in Karlsruhe, rather than "just" visiting. Of course its always better to visit a foreign country -- as opposed to not going at all :-) -- but realize that, in becoming a resident, all sorts of amazing experiences and realizations simply become a part of your everyday life. For example, I learned:

In short, take the time to smell the flowers, live abroad, and what a better time to do so than while you're studying?!?

Last modified: Fri Aug 29 20:41:53 Pacific Daylight Time 2003