students studying abroad

Advising for Education Abroad

Faculty play a crucial role in promoting and supporting education abroad as an important part of engineering students’ studies at Penn State and planning for their professional career. Global Penn State offers additional resources on advising students interested in education abroad.

Education Abroad Advising Support Through Global Engineering Engagement and Education Abroad

The Coordinator of International Experiences in Global Engineering Engagement provides support to students through the selection and preparation for studying abroad and facilitates support for students upon reentry from education abroad.

Engineering students who have an initial interest in studying abroad should first meet with a Global Engineering Fellow to learn more about general program options, funding, and the application process. Following the general advising session, students can schedule an appointment with staff in Global Engineering Engagement. Global Engineering Engagement staff and Global Programs Education Abroad advisers help students to select the appropriate program for their academic and personal goals and help students through the processes and logistics related to applying to, planning for, and returning from an experience abroad.

Completing a Recommendation for a Study Abroad Applicant

Submitting a recommendation for a student applying to study abroad is submitted via an online system. The faculty recommender will receive an email to access a form that takes about ten minutes to complete. The form will include specific questions regarding the student’s readiness to go abroad. Faculty members and academic advisers are ideal choices as references because they are most familiar with a student’s academic needs and abilities. The comments provided are considered carefully when placing a student on the appropriate program.

Courses Abroad and the Course Equivalency Process

Faculty members and academic advisers help students plan for courses to take while abroad. The Education Abroad website offers a simple search tool to find information for each program abroad, including academic content and previous course equivalencies. The course listing can be found under the academics tab on each program site brochure. The program site brochure also has a link to a historical course list showing courses taken abroad that have already been granted Penn State course equivalencies.

Students should meet with their faculty advisers to discuss course equivalencies. Once a student has already applied to their program of choice, Global Engineering Engagement advising staff can help students submit a course equivalency request. Internships and special cases will require additional steps. The Education Abroad site provides a Course Equivalency Process resource to guide faculty through the online program to manage assigning course equivalencies.

Reflection During and After Studying Abroad

Faculty are often an important point of contact for students while abroad and upon return to help with practical concerns, such as course equivalencies and as a source of support for sharing updates and concerns. If students are experiencing significant concerns, encourage them to be in touch with onsite staff or staff in Global Engineering Engagement and Education Abroad for referral to additional resources and support.

Global Engineering is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for the College of Engineering and to facilitate access for all students to participate in global engagement opportunities. The equity and inclusion section of the website is intended to support students who represent a multiplicity of identities and perspectives as part of a diverse Penn State.

When advising students who have already studied abroad, consider discussing ways to incorporate their international experience into their coursework (e.g., papers or presentations, capstone projects, senior thesis, etc.). Faculty are best positioned to help students reflect and draw connections between their education abroad experience, their overall Penn State education, and future educational or career paths.

Engagement Following Reentry

Some students may experience issues with readjustment when they return, particularly after spending a considerable amount of time abroad. Encourage students to attend reentry programming and participate in other opportunities to share their experiences with others — such as helping promote studying abroad to other students or submitting their photos for a contest through Global Engineering Engagement or to be featured as part of the Education Abroad’s Study Abroad Spotlight series.

The Global Engineering Fellows program provides leadership development opportunities for students interested in peer advising for global engagement opportunities based on their experiences with study, research or an internship abroad. Students who join this elite group develop skills to become globally minded leaders in the College of Engineering, interact with our network of Global Engineering Fellows alumni, and influence the experiences of their peers. Global Engineering Fellows enroll in a course designed to build on international experiences, enhance cultural intelligence, and further professional development in a global context.

There are many other opportunities offered to Penn State students that promote leadership development and build on intercultural learning experiences to continue to develop a professional portfolio. In the College of Engineering, students can serve in peer leader positions in the Multicultural Engineering Program or become a leader or active member of one of the engineering student organizations among other options. Students who return from education abroad can influence their peers to have an international education experience. Students will benefit from opportunities to interact with a broader range of peers while continuing to develop their own cultural competence and intercultural communication skills.

Global Engineering Contacts

  • Patrick Tunno
    Director of Global Engineering Engagement

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The mission of Global Engineering Engagement is to create an environment that embraces the values of international education, where access to global exposure and opportunities to develop cross-cultural competence is pervasive. We believe that it is within our reach to ensure that all engineering students can become internationally engaged.

Global Engineering Engagement

College of Engineering

The Pennsylvania State University

208 Hammond Building

University Park, PA 16802