News

November 9, 2009

Students Will Study Engineering and Spanish Culture in New Faculty-led Semester in Madrid

James Ferri, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, will host the program’s first trip in spring 2010

This spring, James Ferri, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, will lead a new semester-abroad program in Spain. Twenty-five students, consisting mostly of second-semester engineering sophomores, will study at Saint Louis University’s Madrid campus.

“Engineering students at most universities have difficulty studying abroad and staying in proper sequence,” explains Ferri. “Lafayette’s program is fairly unique among undergraduate engineering programs; each department in the engineering division carefully coordinates course sequences so that the sophomore spring semester contains courses that can be taken abroad.”

The Madrid program will complement Lafayette’s faculty-led program at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany, where students are able to study engineering and German language and culture. This spring, Anne Raich, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, will serve as faculty host.

At Madrid, students will take courses specific to their majors, such as the math course Differential Equations and an engineering class, Strength of Materials, as well as social science or humanities electives. Many will choose to take a Spanish language or culture class to enhance their local experience. Ferri will teach the Values and Science/Technology course “Nanotechnology and Modern Society” and an engineering elective.

Ferri also will host local cultural outings in Madrid, including a trip to the Prado Museum. Saint Louis University will host two international excursions and various regional trips.

Estimating that 20-25 percent of Lafayette’s engineering students study abroad, Ferri believes the opportunity is an invaluable experience.

“As national economies become increasingly connected into a global network, the technologies which drive these do also,” he says. “Engineers are facing increasing requirements to be able to function in an international environment.”

Participating students represent Lafayette’s entire engineering division, including engineering studies and chemical and biomolecular, civil, electrical and computer, and mechanical engineering.

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