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Student Reports: Abigail Chubb in Milan, Italy

Abigail Chubb in front of the Colosseum in Rome.During the month of May 2019, I had the privilege of taking a UT faculty-led materials science engineering course (MSE 201) with twelve of my fellow engineering classmates in Milan, Italy. The class focused on the material properties and production of bicycles. Milan is a cultural hub for transportation via bike and home to several bicycle manufacturing and tubing companies such as Rossignoli, Trafiltubi, and Cicli Casati. Our class field trips to these companies allowed us to take information taught in our class room and observe its application in real-world engineering settings. For example, at Trafiltubi we observed cold-working and extrusion processes used to manipulate the properties of bike tubing. Later, we visited Cicli Casati who transformed such tubes into solid bike frames. At the Rossignoli bike shop, we helped in the assembly of a bicycle and learned to distinguish steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, and titanium bicycles. This experience was unique because of the frequency with which our classroom material aligned perfectly with the processes we were shown during our excursions.

The chance to immerse myself in Italian culture was an equally exciting part of this experience. From metro transit and my silly attempts at speaking Italian, to eating tons of gelato and chocolate croissants, each day was an adventure. Some of my favorite activities in Milan included home-cooked “family” dinners with my classmates, venturing to Sempione Park to play soccer and frisbee, shopping around the city-center, and casually strolling past the Duomo each day on my way to class. I even celebrated my 19th birthday while abroad! Quick train rides on the weekends also allowed me to make personal visits to the beautiful cities of Venice, Rome, and Florence (which resulted in the purchase of a lovely leather jacket…and just a slight dent to my bank account)! As a class, we also traveled to Lake Como to cheer on the bike racers in the Giro d’Italia. Those days in Como were quite possibly two of my favorites from the whole trip. Traveling up the funicolare for a panoramic view of the city and sunset dinner with my friends made for a wonderful last weekend to our study abroad. The friendships I formed on the trip are definitely some of my biggest takeaways.

Words alone cannot describe how rewarding it was to study abroad in Milan for three weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to take this course abroad and witness global applications of engineering. It excites me to think about how future travel or international internships could feasibly fit into my engineering career. I’ve always dreamed of studying abroad but, as an engineering major who wants to graduate in four years, was truly unsure if I’d get the chance. I will forever be thankful for Dr. Kit who took the time to design this study abroad that happened to fit perfectly into my required course load and the Tickle College of Engineering for encouraging engineers to travel and expand their knowledge on an international scale. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I was grateful to spend it with the best group of people. I will treasure these memories for a long time to come!

Abigail Chubb with fellow student in Italy.

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