Skip to main content

Consortium paves way for global engineering opportunities

May 26, 2009

Arizona State University has gained membership in an international consortium that will enable its Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering to offer students opportunities to learn in some of the world’s leading university engineering programs.

The Global Engineering Education Exchange – also known as Global E3 – invites only a small number of universities to become new members each year. ASU’s engineering school now joins more than 30 other U.S. universities in partnership with more than 50 educational institutions in 18 European, Asian and Latin American countries.

Beginning in the 2010 spring semester, ASU will be able to send up to five engineering students each year to study abroad through the consortium. In turn, five students from member universities in foreign countries can send five students to spend a semester of full academic year at ASU.

“Participation in Global E3 is a major step toward our school’s five-year goal of providing each of our students an international educational experience before they graduate,” said Deirdre Meldrum, dean of engineering school. “The exchange program enables us to increase our interaction with a highly interconnected global society, and establish more partnerships that offer our students diverse educational opportunities throughout the world.”

The Global E3 membership “gives us high-quality academic partnerships in Asia, Europe, Australia and elsewhere,” says Jeff Goss, an assistant dean who directs the engineering school’s office of Global Outreach and Extended Education. “These institutions can provide our students a global engineering education experience that’s going to be especially valuable to them in pursuing their careers.”

The engineering field in the 21st century will increasingly demand cross-cultural skills and experience in international business environments, said Cori Oversby, who graduated from ASU in 2008 with a degree in civil engineering.

As a student, Oversby worked with the organization Engineers Without Borders to design water-system infrastructure for a village in a remote region of the Amazon jungle in Ecuador.

“I discovered that it’s one thing to learn how to interact and live with people in a different culture for a short period of time, but it’s a much bigger challenge to understand how to implement a culturally appropriate and sustainable engineering solution,” Oversby said.

“The experience taught me just how holistic any engineered solution needs to be. You have to see the whole picture and how it affects the people and the culture you’re working with,” she said. “Today’s engineering students need experiences with other cultures and other countries to fully grasp how their work can affect the lives of others.”

Michal Ziv-El, who is studying for a Ph.D. in environmental engineering, also worked on the project in Ecuador. “Experiences in foreign countries give engineering students a broader perspective,” she said. “You learn that we really need to start doing engineering in ways that make sense for the whole world, in terms of using our resources wisely and being energy-efficient.”

Global E3 allows engineering, computer science and construction management students to study overseas for a semester or a full academic year, with an option to do an internship in a foreign country after one semester of study there.

Participating students will be able to transfer all approved credits earned abroad to their program of study, without delaying their graduation date.

The exchange program’s importance has been recognized by the National Science Foundation, AT&T Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. Each provided start-up funds for the program, which is administered in the United States by the Institute of International Education.

Consortium member universities offer “tuition swaps,” allowing students to study aboard but pay regular tuition at their home universities. Host universities help provide inexpensive housing, and some financial aid is available for U.S. students. Some host universities can also provide students assistance in finding internships with foreign industries or university laboratories.

Global E3 offers several scholarship programs for U.S. students – one for female engineering students and others for student of various groups underrepresented in the engineering professions, for students with demonstrated financial need and for students planning to study in certain areas of the world.

Additionally, the Study Abroad Office at ASU offers merit-based and need-based scholarships for ASU students participating in study abroad programs.

The Global Outreach and Extended Education office will be responsible for the recruitment and selection process of ASU students going abroad. The Study Abroad Office in the Center for Global Education Services will be responsible for the admission of the incoming students from other countries.

For more information about Global E3, including program application requirements, visit the Web site or

A new web site at will be active in the near future.