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### Insights from a Senior Engineering Graduate: Exploring Study and Work Abroad in Germany

Jan. 31, 2024

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Taylor Compton is showcased diligently working in the sound lab during his internship at Kärcher.

Introducing Taylor Compton, a senior on the cusp of graduation from the International Engineering Program. Within this program, Compton is immersing himself in the realms of engineering and German studies, having ventured abroad for a year to partake in engineering coursework conducted in German and engage in an internship at Kärcher. Kärcher stands as a family-owned titan in the realm of innovative and sustainable cleaning technology, boasting a global presence with 150 entities across 80 nations and a portfolio encompassing over 650 active patents.

Reflecting on his educational journey, Compton elaborated on his experience, “During my tenure in Germany, I had the opportunity to enroll in a myriad of aerospace courses offered by TU Darmstadt. One such course, Space Flight Mechanics, delved into the intricacies of spacecraft orbit determination and the multifaceted challenges inherent in planetary and inter-planetary space travel,” shared Compton. “This academic expedition also led me to the doors of the European Space Operations Center for the European Space Agency in Darmstadt.”

Compton shed light on the pivotal role of the European Space Operations Center as the nerve center for ESA missions aimed at safeguarding Earth and space assets from potential threats like approaching asteroids. Transitioning to the latter half of his sojourn abroad, Compton delved into the realm of acoustic and vibration engineering as an intern at Kärcher.

Taylor and Jada Compton embarking on an exploration of Esslingen, Germany

“My responsibilities entailed fine-tuning the sound attributes of devices utilizing cutting-edge measurement technology within the Kärcher Sound Laboratory,” he recounted, “and spearheading the conceptualization of acoustic components through theoretical frameworks, simulations, and practical experiments. This stint fostered collaborative ventures with fellow interns hailing from Germany and various corners of the globe. The practical skills honed during this period are poised to underpin my professional trajectory, fostering personal growth through a tapestry of challenges and opportunities.”

Compton further delved into the heartwarming reception extended by the local community.

“Accompanied by my wife during our German escapade, we were enveloped by the warmth and camaraderie of the local populace,” Compton reminisced. “Our landlord and his kin played a pivotal role in acclimatizing us to the German milieu, offering guided tours of the city, facilitating introductions to their network of German acquaintances, immersing us in local festivities and cultural landmarks, and incorporating us into the tapestry of German customs. This immersive experience not only enriched our understanding of German culture but also forged enduring bonds akin to an extended German family.”

In parting, Compton imparted pearls of wisdom for aspirants contemplating the integration of language studies into their academic pursuits: “For those contemplating a foray into language studies, I urge you to take the plunge and commence this enriching journey. Subsequently, I advocate for seizing the opportunity to study abroad if circumstances permit. Numerous programs extend financial aid to facilitate this endeavor, provided one undertakes the due diligence in seeking out and applying for such opportunities.”

Addressing apprehensions surrounding international ventures, Compton offered reassurance, “Venturing abroad or residing in a foreign land for an extended duration, even if the language proficiency acquired may not find frequent application in professional or daily spheres, can be an enriching experience with enduring benefits. My spouse and I imbibed the virtues of adaptability in navigating intricate scenarios, fostering a newfound appreciation for individuals transitioning to life in a foreign land. Moreover, our sojourn kindled a passion for travel that continues to propel us beyond our perceived horizons, courtesy of our sojourn in Germany and explorations of neighboring nations. Confronted with the pivotal decision early in my collegiate voyage to pursue German studies alongside engineering, thereby elongating my academic tenure, I opted to embrace both disciplines and embark on a year-long sojourn in Germany. Hindsight affirms that I would unequivocally make the same choice if presented with the opportunity today.”