Knowledge, skills, and attitudes acquired through engineering student experiences abroad

Keilin Tarum Deahl, Eileen Walz, Russell Korte, Valeri Werpetinski, Laura D. Hahn, Judith A. Sunderman, J Bruce Litchfield

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


International engineering experiences facilitate the development of essential skills for students. This paper identifies areas of student development acquired while working on international engineering projects abroad. These experiences presented a unique learning environment and opportunity to develop and implement a holistic engineering project. The findings from our research indicate six areas of student development: Technical knowledge, communication, personal growth, project management, community-based development, and intercultural awareness. These six categories are broken down into subcategories to further identify specific areas of student development. These findings are based on reflections collected from Engineers Without Borders student members. The first round of data was collected through on site journals and discussions and post-travel interviews with participants of a site-Assessment trip to Cameroon and implementation trip to Guatemala. The second round of data was collected through a discussion with seven students leaders of projects based in Guatemala, Cameroon, Haiti, and Nigeria. The theoretical framework for this study is grounded in experiential learning theories and speaks to the fact that students enrich their knowledge, skills, and attitudes through direct experiences. While abroad students practiced engineering and project management skills while working alongside community members to address specific needs. The international context often presented language and cultural barriers and challenged students to work in remote or underdeveloped environments. Recognizing this will allow more effective education tools and curricula to be created. The results of this study communicate the value of such international experiences and motivate the integration of these skills into domestic curricula. Further analysis can be found at

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Sep 24 2013
Event120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 26 2013


Other120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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