Visiting German Students Complete Engineering Undergraduate Requirements at UMD

news story image

Peter Mueller & Funda Karatas, visiting students from Germany

"UMD is much bigger than our university. Here you have everything you need ...."

Peter Mueller, University of Applied Sciences (Mannheim, Germany)

After more than 20 years of collaboration, the Exchange Visitor Training Program, a partnership between the University of Maryland and other foreign engineering schools, continues to expand. Beginning in 1988, the goal of the program is to allow international engineering students the opportunity to work in UMD laboratories as interns, as well as experience a different cultural environment. Informally known as the ‘German exchange program,’ the Exchange Visitor Training Program is housed in the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering under the direction of Professor Reinhard Radermacher. Currently 12 students are visiting UMD from the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim, Germany.

The students arrived in late August to begin their six-month stay at UMD. Strictly working in labs to complete their ‘practicum,’ the 12 students must spend six months as interns in order to complete their undergraduate degree requirements for their home university in Germany. According to Mary Baugher, coordinator of the Exchange Visitor Training Program, "our program works out perfectly for that." Additionally, some students may continue on to complete a master’s thesis in the same area of research as their UMD sponsor.

Once acclimated to campus, the interns are integrated into ongoing research projects with the expected outcome of providing significant contributions to their field of research. While most of the interns are sponsored by professors in the mechanical engineering department, Professor William Fourney from the Department of Aerospace Engineering generally sponsors an intern as well. Undergraduate intern Funda Karatas is currently spending her six months working in the Phase Change Heat Transfer Lab under the guidance of Professor Jungho Kim researching the creation of a Nusselt-Correlation for spray cooling purposes. Karatas’ research focuses on analyzing existing heat flux data and pressure distribution data that has to be measured for several nozzles and also the particle size data of these nozzles has to be compared and processed.

In addition to the work/study aspect, the program also provides the visiting students with the chance to experience American culture. Intern Klaus-Peter Mueller has completely embraced the cultural opportunities offered by the program, stating "[I enjoy going] to the recreation center to play soccer, or to visit other cities like NYC, Washington D.C., Philly or Annapolis."

Mueller says the biggest difference between UMD and the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim are that UMD is much bigger than his university. "Here you have everything you need in such a small area like the recreation center, tennis courts or the bus system. Our campus in Germany is not so big. It only consists of the buildings where the classes are, laboratories and a cafeteria," he adds. "There is no living inside the campus. All the students live around the campus, not on it like at UMD. We also have no football team with such a big stadium." When asked if he would return to UMD after he graduates, Mueller enthusiastically states, "If there is a good reason, Yes!"

The current interns will be at the university until March, when a new group of 13 students arrive. Of these 13, ten are from the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim, two attend the University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbüettel and one is from the Technical University of Berlin.

To learn more about the Exchange Visitor Training Program, please visit: or contact program coordinator Mary Baugher at

Published November 30, 2009