• GEARE Executive Board

GEARE Alumni Highlights - Part 2 (Jessica Corder)

Last Tuesday (10/18/2022) I had the pleasure of sitting down with a GEARE alum, Jessica to hear about her experience with the program and the insights she had.

Jessica came to Purdue for mechanical engineering at the start of the Fall 2005 semester. She had selected this school because of its strong Women in Engineering program. Initially, she wasn’t aware of GEARE; however, when her roommate (who was heading to India for the program) told her about it, she knew this was the program for her. Jessica applied to study abroad at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and, thanks to her high school German credit, was able to test into the third level of German language classes. She worked hard to prepare for her abroad experience through her summer internship and by exposing herself to as much German-language media as possible.

Once in Munich, Jessica described the transition process as quite smooth. She had no issues with paperwork or passports, and she found that many of her classes were comparable to what she had experienced at Purdue. Despite all of her lectures being in English, she had the opportunity to attend the exact same lectures again in German, which she found to be massively helpful in bolstering her communication skills. As one of forty international students attending KIT, she stayed in the international dorms, where she was presented with a great opportunity to meet new people and exchange cultures. Unlike many GEARE students traveling to Europe, Jessica decided to spend the majority of her time in Germany, focusing on improving her language ability and exploring the nation’s rich culture. Following the conclusion of the program, Jessica was able to secure a position in manufacturing for L’Oreal, eventually becoming a project manager based in New York.

Jessica’s biggest takeaway from the GEARE program was her language aptitude. After her stay in Germany, Jessica said that she had become conversationally fluent; moreover, she found that she was able to pick up other languages more easily. Despite the majority of her fellow coworkers at L’Oreal being French, she had no issues quickly picking up the romance language. Her biggest piece of advice for incoming students was to be open to new experiences. Traveling abroad is a huge change, but going into it with the proper mindset can help make it fun and worthwhile.



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