On the other side of the world: Summer studying in China teaches more than engineering

Business is booming in China. The country with the world’s fastest-growing economy is also the largest exporter and home to some of the planet’s most ambitious public works projects.

Emerging as a world-leader in manufacturing and sustainable power, China offers a wide array of opportunities for tomorrow’s engineers—if they are comfortable living and working in a country with vastly different culture and traditions than they may be used to in the United States.

“China is one of the world’s biggest markets,” says Amanda Hammatt, director of international engineering studies and programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “A lot of American companies have plants in China and, for our engineering students, having some basic knowledge of the culture is extremely valuable.”

UW-Madison engineering students gain that knowledge firsthand, thanks to a unique UW-Madison summer international experience at the Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Now in its 10th year, the program gives students the opportunity to fulfill engineering degree requirements while developing crucial international skills that will help them become tomorrow’s leaders.

“Our economy is global and our students need to have a leg up in making global connections and working in global environments,” says John Pfotenhauer, a professor of mechanical engineering who has been involved with the program every year since its inception in 2008.

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