Our roots within international exchange date all the way back to 1950 and begin with our involvement with the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE).
IAESTE provides opportunities for university students of science, engineering, and technical fields to gain international work experience through paid internships in over 80 countries.Each year on October 20, Cultural Vistas pays homage to its role as the U.S. affiliate in this long-standing student exchange program.
IAESTE Day was created as an opportunity to celebrate a program that has impacted the personal and professional development of more than 350,000 technical students around the globe. To do our part in this annual celebration, we've reached out to past and present participants to share stories of how IAESTE has positively impacted their lives.
Glen Reese, IAESTE 2012 – Madrid, Spain
Glen is currently a graduate student in civil engineering at Texas A&M University who spent 10 weeks this past summer interning at Vias Y Construcciones in Madrid.
Why did you choose to pursue an internship abroad through IAESTE?
I saw it as a great chance to learn new cultures, meet different people, and to get experience abroad.
How do you feel you have benefitted professionally from this experience?
I advanced my foreign language skills and learned a lot about foreign construction and business practices.
What is something new or unexpected that you learned?
Since my company had an office in Poland and an IAESTE intern from there, I learned a lot about the Polish culture and traditions.
What was the most memorable aspect of your experience abroad?
The office atmosphere at my job was amazing. We ate lunch together everyday and everyone was so friendly and sociable. I will keep in touch with many of my co-workers for years to come.
What advice would you give to someone considering interning abroad?
Do it! It's an amazing experience that you will learn a lot from. Don't be afraid of the unknown, just because you don't know much about a culture doesn't mean it is bad. I met people from all over the world and everyone was very nice.
Chris Riddick, IAESTE 2011 – Northern Ireland
The chance to intern abroad and experience Northern Ireland, has made an enduring impact for Chris Riddick, a 2011 IAESTE United States participant and Ohio State University senior.
"This opportunity opened my mind to the cultural perspectives of young people from around the world and showed me that students in my field of study are more similar to me and my friends than I originally thought. I'll never forget the friends I made in Northern Ireland."
Alberto Lopez, IAESTE 2004 – Freiburg, Germany
Alberto, an IAESTE alum talks about his experience interning in Germany and how it helped create new pathways within his personal and professional life in the years that followed. He outlines four key takeaways from his participation in IAESTE, including:
Cultural Vistas has administered IAESTE United States, the U.S. affiliate of the IAESTE international student exchange program, since its inception in 1950.
Learn more at iaesteunitedstates.org.
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