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CCEE Study abroad: Ahoj from Prague!

“Think and do” is how NC State and the department have encouraged students to broaden their horizons and participate in new experiences. This summer, 12 CCEE students learned a new way to vocalize the mantra — “myslet a dělat” — as they journeyed 4,498 miles to study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, from July 2 to Aug. 4. It was the first time in three years that students were able to make the trip, due to previous pandemic travel restrictions.

The program is offered through the NC State European Center, which is in the center of Old Town Prague and NC State’s only campus outside of North Carolina. It is supervised by Drs. Daniel Findley and William Rasdorf. Students had the opportunity to take CE 301: Surveying, taught by Rasdorf, and CE 305: Traffic Engineering, taught by Findley, earning six hours of credit while experiencing European culture firsthand. The group visited several famous civil engineering sites, including the Prague Transit Museum and graphite mine Český Krumlov. Students also engaged in fun cultural activities such as a Czech cooking class and a local caramel factory tour and tasting.

Findley said that, in his experience, studying abroad is one of the most enriching activities in which students can participate.

“The small class size facilitates interactions and allows for engaging site visits,” he said. “Civil engineering works are everywhere, allowing us to compare and contrast various methods and applications in multiple domains within civil engineering. We observe students gaining self-confidence as they navigate cultural norms, learn enough basic language skills to conduct their daily lives, travel using a variety of transportation modes and develop skills that I hope will help them in their future careers and lives.”

Rebecca May, a BSCE student who went on the trip, said one of her favorite memories from her study abroad experience was a hike she took in the outskirts of Prague.

“It was amazing how good the views were just a few minutes outside of the city,” she said. “Prague is an amazing city for a study abroad experience.”

Students took a tour of the Transport Research Centre in Brno, where they tested a driving simulator and learned about instrumented and autonomous vehicles.
The group took a cooking class at the NC State European Center in Prague, creating (and eating!) Czech cuisine.
Students visited a graphite mine in Český Krumlov, where they took a mine train 70 meters below ground to walk through the underground tunnels and look at period and modern mining machines.
At the Prague Transit Museum, students explored historic vehicles and related items at the old Střešovice tram depot.
The group took a tour of Czech Technical University, where they saw a car that students at the school designed and raced.

This story was originally published in the CCEE Fall 2022 Newsletter.