Engineering students go global during spring semester

Posted: March 15, 2022
Student in Spain

This spring, four students from the College of Engineering are studying abroad, a first since the spring 2020 term. Across two continents, students are studying in London, Seville, and Seoul. Maggie Gottfried, a current senior studying Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Spanish and Humanitarian Engineering shared her experiences with the Global Engineering Office.

What has been the highlight of your time abroad so far?
So far, the highlight of my time abroad has been being able to participate in the daily life activities of somebody living in Spain! I love being able to spend time exploring every part of the city, getting to know people in the community, volunteer, and learn about the little things that you wouldn't get the chance to learn from simply visiting somewhere on vacation. It really gives me a bigger appreciation for my city and the people living in it.

What are classes like in Spain and how does this differ from classes at Ohio State?
In Spain, I feel that the in-class time is utilized much differently than my classes at Ohio State. This could be because at Ohio State I am an engineering student and here I am only studying Spanish, but I feel that we focus more on learning in-class, doing activities, and having discussions together, rather than learning basic material in class and practicing/learning on your own outside of class. I enjoy being able to walk away from class feeling like I have all or most of my questions answered and I feel that my classmates and I are always on a similar level of understanding this way.

Student in Spain

What was the preparation like for your time abroad?
For my time abroad, I had to make sure to start preparing about a year in advance. The application process is extensive and takes a lot of time, and the logistics of going abroad (obtaining a visa, making sure all documentation is in order) can be a little tricky if you wait until the last minute. Packing was difficult for me because I wasn't completely sure what Spaniards typically wear! It was helpful to have the staff at Ohio State and COWA to help answer all questions. I did prepare a little for the switch in language, but the best way to learn is during the time abroad!

Any advice you would give a student considering an international experience?
I would say go for it! There will probably not be another time in your life when you will get the chance to live in another country with this much guidance and support while having limited responsibilities. It is a great chance to widen your perspectives, travel, and learn a new language. I have been traveling a lot while I am here, but I will say that it is important to remember to spend some time in your city and the surrounding area also! It makes the place you are studying in feel more like a home away from home, rather than just a place you take classes during the weekdays. It is difficult to adjust to a new environment, but once you get comfortable with being uncomfortable, it gets much easier and you learn to appreciate all the new experiences and differences of another country.

O-H-I-O in Paris

For any students that are interested in learning more about global opportunities in the College of Engineering, please reach out to You can also find a list of current global opportunities here.