NDSU encourages students to pursue rich experiences that will help them grow their skills beyond the classroom.
Working with NDSU Study Abroad Services, recent graduate Gina Blazanin was able to find an opportunity to do just that. During spring 2019, she completed a semester-long structural engineering internship in Pisa, Italy.
“Most people never get a chance to do something like that,” said Blazanin, who earned her bachelor’s degree civil engineering in 2020. “It’s a great way to apply classroom knowledge, and being abroad opened my eyes to how connected the world really is.”
Blazanin was confident in her engineering knowledge from her classes at NDSU, and she was able to build on that through the internship. The internship also allowed her to develop a unique skillset beyond technical skills.
While working and living with people from other countries, Blazanin developed an appreciation for and interest in other cultures. She also worked directly with clients, which gave her experience in project management and intercultural communication – skills vital for success in the workplace.
“Having international work experience so early in my career is definitely something employers notice,” Blazanin said. “It shows that I was willing to challenge myself.”
NDSU equipped Blazanin with the skills and confidence to succeed. Her classroom knowledge, combined with her internship experience, prepared her for either a full-time job or graduate school, she said.
“I left NDSU knowing that I got a great education,” said Blazanin, who is now a graduate research assistant at the University of Texas, Austin. “I feel prepared for any role I take on.”
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