Improving Student Achievement Through Overseas Experience
The opportunity to gain overseas experience has been a decade long feature of the undergraduate civil engineering program at Griffith University. The accreditation of Australian undergraduate engineering degrees requires the inclusion of a certain amount of industry experience. Civil engineering students have the option of gaining approximately 12 weeks of this experience in an overseas summer placement, called the Overseas Experience Program (OEP), between their third and fourth (final) years. Students planning to undertake OEP receive some language and culture classes during their third year. Typically about 30% of students participate in the OEP at the end of their third year. During their unpaid overseas experience participants are supervised by staff from an in-country partner university. The OEP includes eight countries in SE Asia, with Thailand and Vietnam recently being the most popular destinations. Development of the OEP partnerships has been funded by the Australian Government under grants from the University Mobility in the Asia Pacific region scheme. Anecdotal evidence has been that OEP participants have performed much better upon return to their studies. The final year academic performance of participants in the Overseas Experience Program has been compared with non-participants, confirming this view.
Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Education 2007