International Experience Launched
In April, Rensselaer kicked off a new initiative to encourage all engineering students to participate in an international experience. Called Rensselaer Engineering Education Across Cultural Horizons (REACH), the program offers students the opportunity to participate in structured study abroad programs, as well as other international experiences such as internships, exchange programs, or other overseas opportunities.
A symbolic signing ceremony and presidential colloquy were held to celebrate the kickoff of the REACH program, which has formalized partnerships with the Technical University of Denmark and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
“From global climate change and the growing global thirst for energy, to healthcare and the depletion of our natural resources, the current generation of studentsour future leaderswill be charged with developing technological and societal solutions of unprecedented scope and influence,” said Jackson. “Such pursuits cannot and will not occur in a vacuum. Their resolution rests upon collaborative research and innovation, and because we live in a shrinking, interconnected world, this collaboration requires a vibrant diversity of thought and perspective to ensure that these global solutions can be successfully implemented in any given nation, region, or community.”
REACH will be phased in over the next several years. In 2009, 25 percent of Rensselaer undergraduate engineering majors will study abroad at partner universities. In return, an equal number of undergraduates from these partner universities will study at Rensselaer. The percentage of Rensselaer students going abroad will increase gradually through 2015, when REACH will be fully implemented and all engineering juniors will be expected to participate in an international experience.
|The percentage of Rensselaer students going abroad will increase gradually through 2015, when REACH will be fully implemented and all engineering juniors will be expected to participate in an international experience.
Ultimately, the program is expected to grow beyond Rensselaer’s School of Engineering to encompass a campuswide range of disciplines and departments.
In addition to participating in a study abroad semester through the School of Engineering, other international experiences are also being investigated. These options may include short-term research-intensive study abroad programs through Summer@Rensselaer, attending the floating university of Semester at Sea, working to improve the quality of life in disadvantaged communities with Engineers Without Borders International, volunteering in developing nations with the Peace Corps, or helping to spread environmental awareness with Engineers for a Sustainable World.