Exchange Visitor Training Program Approaches 20th Year

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Exchange Visitor Training Program participants Magnus Eisele and Jan Muehlbauer in the lab where they conduct heat exchanger testing.

"Participating in the exchange program not only gave me the opportunity to develop my language skills, but it also shaped my character and broadened my horizon. Today I feel and think much more as a citizen of the world, not as a citizen of my home country anymore. Coping with all the small challenges before and during your stay in a foreign country boosts your experience more than a dozen years of everyday life in your home country."

- Magnus Eisele, Exchange Program participant

What started out as a small student exchange between the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim, Germany has grown to offer student training for foreign visitors interested in a variety of research opportunities offered by the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Each year the Exchange Visitor Training Program grants a small number of internship and training opportunities for international students anywhere from three months to a year with the Clark School. For example, all exchange students who work within the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE) are here for six months or more.

So far about 350 students have participated in this program, with mechanical engineering offering over a dozen placements with more than twenty professors hosting students. Some have been able to use the internship to complete their diploma or Masters theses, some using the program to fulfill the practical training requirements of their home institutions, with all students having gained valuable international experience. The program has recently added a new agreement with Wolfenbuettel University of Applied Sciences in Germany, providing even more opportunities for exchange for the Clark School. One of the longstanding partners is the Berlin Technical University, sending one to two students annually since the program’s inception. Maryland has hosted students from France, Italy, Turkey and South Africa, as well as several other German Universities.

The exchange program has existed since the 1988 fall semester within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, initially administered by Dr. Dirse Sallet. Professor Reinhard Radermacher took over the program in the early 90s with support from Jane Fines, Director of Undergraduate Recruitment and Special Programs in the Clark School. The exchange program administrators hope to cultivate more involvement from Maryland host professors and labs, and to expand the program to gain more international partnerships. More importantly, they hope to get more Maryland students to visit the foreign institutions as well.

Published April 23, 2007