September 15, 2009

Students Reflect on Engineering Exchange Program

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The Case School of Engineering offers its undergraduates a chance to take part in an exchange with undergraduate engineering students at Waseda University, in Tokyo. The exchange provides students an opportunity to learn about each others’ culture, language, how their labs are run, research, business practices and more.

Students from Waseda and Case Engineering celebrated with a dinner, posters and stories about their stays at Nord Hall last Friday.

What stood out for Risa Iwamoto, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at Waseda, was dorm life. Dormitories are uncommon in Japan and four weeks in Cutler House allowed her to practice English with students for Turkey, Korea and elsewhere. "I came here to learn to speak English more fluently and make a lot of friends around the world," Iwamoto said. Asked if the program has helped, she said, "I think."

Eric Dymerski, a Case Western Reserve sophomore from the Columbus area, said commuting in Tokyo provided a lesson in city design. He rode a train or walked everywhere in the city, found retail and restaurant districts outside each train station and saw trees growing on tiny bits of space among buildings that seemed to go on forever. The contrasts were startling when compared to American cities built around car travel, he said.

As students spoke about their experiences, it was clear impressions ran deep.

Chelsea Boucek, a sophomore chemical engineering major had never spoken Japanese before her trip. She said she loved the culture and the food and now wants to become fluent. Takeru Kawata , a Waseda senior, said he enjoyed learning English and working with lab students here so much, "I don’t want to leave."

In all, seven students from Case traveled to Waseda in July. Four Waseda students arrived here in August and wrapped up their stay Saturday.

Though the exchange is a summer program, students can start the application process now by seeking an interview with Debbie Fatica, assistant dean, Engineering Student Programs, at 368-4449.

The cost of the four-week program was $4,000 per student this summer. The Case Alumni Association provided each student with a $1,500 scholarship.

For more information contact Kevin Mayhood, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, September 15, 2009 11:19 AM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, Students

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