One might not expect a civil engineering student to have an artistic side, but Duke University senior Hunter Douglas most certainly does.
His three-month IAESTE internship abroad in Belo Horizonte, Brazil allowed him to take notice of this beautiful host nation and further pursue his interests in travel and photography.
Documenting his experience enabled him to learn more about himself and his passions, and also led to him to capturing the grand-prize winning shot in the Cultural Vistas 2012 Picture This! Photo Contest.
While Hunter interned abroad to see the world and advance his professional pursuits, he came away from his summer with so much more.
Duke University | Senior | Major: Civil Engineering
2012 IAESTE United States participant
Why did you choose to pursue an internship abroad through IAESTE?
I was looking for opportunities to both further my professional experience and to explore a new part of the world.
How do you feel you have benefitted professionally from this experience?
I gained a much better appreciation for what it means to have an academic research career in engineering, and this will help shape my future career path. I also had an illuminating cultural immersion experience, learned some Portuguese, and saw some incredible sights.
What is something new or unexpected that you learned?
I learned about the importance of saying yes. I was presented with some awesome and unexpected opportunities, especially for traveling with friends. Simply saying yes to these led to some unforgettable memories.
What was the most meaningful and/or memorable aspect of your experience abroad?
Visiting the incredible natural sights of Brazil's wilderness was a deeply moving experience for me. They bolstered my conviction that I want my career to benefit the environment in a very real way.
What advice would you give to someone considering interning abroad?
You don't need to know the local language, but the more you know, the better! Take advantage of the opportunity of living in a new country to gain as much language skill as you can. Brazil is the most exciting country that I have ever visited. You can do everything there, except maybe skiing.
Watch a short documentary reflecting on Hunter's experience in Brazil below, or take a deeper look on his Tumblr.
The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) provides students in technical fields with paid internships and training abroad, and employers with highly skilled and motivated international trainees. With more than 80 member countries and over 4,000 traineeships exchanged each year, it is the largest organization of its kind in the world. — Learn more at iaeste.org.
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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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