Last weekend I was lucky enough to travel to Budapest and even more lucky to meet two lovely Brazilians staying at the same place. Turns out one of them had a cousin in the city studying at Budapest University. (This story is going somewhere I promise). Well, he is a mechanical engineer who came over in the summer to learn English for his classes in the fall on engineering.
What is so interesting about all of this? The program he is traveling under is called Science Without Borders, the same program that sends dozens of wonderful people to Rose-Hulman last year and will again this year.
Science without Borders was started in 2011 by the Brazilian as a joint project between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science. Although it is in its infancy, this programs will send one hundred thousand Brazilian students abroad to learn not only about science but also about the cultures of various other communities. The scholarship covers almost everything for the students for a year.
As someone who is doing the same thing in the private sector, the value of this program is extremely high. I have learned not only so much about engineering and work but values of other people and a language as well. Yet even more important, it shows that science has no borders and the largest problems need to be thought on and worked on in global setting.
This massive incentive will shape a new generation of engineers. It does not only affect the students who are traveling but the people who interact with them in class, the dorms, and on the street. These different views meeting can only bring about a better understanding of each other and a stronger world community.
Being dropped into a new culture to learn is an exciting yet scary event. On one level there is so much to learn and experience; everything is a new thing. Yet on the other hand, everything is a new thing, “how does the subway work?” and “I cant read this menu/products in the grocery store/general store sign…rats” (this led to the most interesting tasting coffee of my life). This song is a reminder that a mixture of butterflies in the stomach is so amazing yet a little scary.