For my STEP project, I completed a 12-week aerospace engineering internship in Warsaw, Poland. I worked at the Instytut Lotnictwa where I researched Particle Image Velocimetry, assisted with wind tunnel testing, analyzed data, and helped publish a research paper. Living abroad for 12 weeks not only allowed me to learn a vast knowledge of the aerospace field, but it also allowed me to explore many different European cultures. The knowledge, friendships, and global perspective I gained was life-changing.
This STEP project affected me both academically and socially. During my internship, I gained critical hands-on experience and conceptual knowledge by assisting with different wind-tunnel tests, which will ultimately help me perform better in the classroom. It was incredible to see concepts I learned at Ohio State get translated into real-life scenarios and testing. After completing and analyzing many different tests, I helped write and publish a research paper. This experience will be vital to my future and has already opened doors for me academically. After returning to OSU, I got hired at the Aerospace Research Center to help conduct research here. This STEP project has proven to be life-changing and I’m excited to see how it impacts my future.
Living abroad for 12 weeks proved to be an absolutely incredible experience. While in Poland, I had the opportunity to completely indulge in their culture: meeting new people, trying new food, and learning their language. I also traveled to 13 other countries during my free time. Traveling to so many places has truly given me a global perspective and has shown me how cultures can be different, yet still work and live cohesively. Traveling has also taught me how to be more independent. I went to many different countries by myself and learned to adapt despite not knowing their language or having anyone to help me. The skills I learned during my STEP experience will be vital for future as an engineer, especially in a worldwide industry where a global perspective and independence are a necessity.
Working and researching at the Institute every day gave me the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to transform my life academically. I applied many concepts I learned at OSU to real life scenarios. For example I used MATLAB nearly every day to analyze data, which is a program I learned here at OSU. I also applied many of the concepts I learned in aerospace engineering classes to analyze and validate data the results I obtained. The knowledge gained in the classroom helped me tremendously, but I also learned a lot at the internship which will help me in the classroom in the future. For example, I learned how to use Particle Image Velocimetry which is a new way to visually analyze airflow without having any physical sensors in the flow. I also had the chance to work with Polish people every day which helped me understand their culture and learn Polish.
I enjoyed every second of living in Poland. It was incredible to meet new people and see the differences between our cultures. Before I arrived, I didn’t know any Polish and didn’t know what to expect. When I arrived, I was surprised by how nice and respectful the people were; almost everyone was willing to help me if they spoke English. By the end of summer, I was able to speak basic polish, shop, use public transportation, and comfortably travel anywhere in Europe by myself. I slowly learned how to do everything by experiencing it firsthand or talking to other people who could help. This STEP experience has taught me to be more independent and how to adapt in many different diverse situations.
During my free time I traveled to 13 other countries: Ireland, England, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Israel, Greece, Hungary, and Finland. I feel it’s important as a person, and as a professional, to have a global perspective. Engineering is a global industry and I know I will work with people from all over the world. It’s important to understand cultural differences and how to overcome a language barrier to achieve a common goal. Not only has STEP transformed my life academically, but it has also given me a better understanding of other cultures and the skills necessary to be a well-rounded engineer and professional.
This STEP experience has definitely changed my life and was by far the best 12 weeks of my life. I gained knowledge and hands-on experience that most undergraduates never get the opportunity to do. I met many new people and learned a tremendous amount about the Polish culture. This experience also gave me the opportunity to travel, which taught me to be more independent and gave me a global perspective. All of these experiences and skills gained have already transformed my life and I’m excited to see how it impacts my future. I plan on working internationally as an engineer and this STEP experience gave me the academic and social skills necessary to do that. I can’t thank STEP and The Ohio State University enough for providing this experience; it was absolutely life-changing.