As a participant of the International Research and Education in Engineering (IREE) program organized by Purdue University, I spent about three months in the Research Center for Green Building and New Energy at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. The research center works in several fields ranging from biomass energy research to preparation for the upcoming solar decathlon. I helped design and implement the campus energy management system, software that collects data from all over Tongji University’s multiple campuses and performs the necessary computations to analyze and improve the efficiency of the university’s power system.
For most of my internship, I lived with my professor and his family. Living in a home-stay enriched my experience in Shanghai and offered a nice balance to the professional life in the office. I often had opportunities to speak with my host family about a variety of issues, so I obtained a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.
My stay in Shanghai helped to expand the understanding of academia in China that I obtained during my previous study abroad in Beijing to include life as a professional in China. Studying abroad has certainly been the most unique and life-changing experience of my academic career. The experiences and skills that I have acquired during my time in China are one of my greatest assets and are a key component of my personal identity. I would highly recommend the International Engineering Program to anyone who is looking for an enriching supplement to the standard engineering curriculum.