Skip to content

Study Abroad Student Report: Braden Copley

During the 2024 Summer Mini term I traveled out of the country for the first time to Prague, Czech Republic. There, I got to expand my studies by doing experiments with a nuclear reactor. While studying nuclear engineering, it can be hard to physically grasp the concepts that are taught in classes. Pictures, articles, and textbook inserts will paint a picture, but nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes. In the Czech Republic, we were allowed access to the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant and got to tour part of their facilities. It was amazing to see the processes, designs, and engineering that I have studied for years now be physically in front of me.

In addition to the power plant, we also visited the Rez Research and Development Center and got to learn more about the different research and experiments that are conducted in the search for nuclear power. Skoda, which is arguably the largest tech company in the Czech Republic, also gave a tour of their facilities where nuclear vessels were being fabricated and constructed. Also, on top of visits in the Czech Republic, we also visited the IAEA and United Nations in Vienna, Austria. Here, we took a tour of the UN building, seeing large conference rooms and history from different nations. We also got to see cutting edge nuclear technology at the IAEA, which was an amazing experience. These experiences were all amazing, however performing the laboratories was arguably the best part of the trip. Performing experiments on, and operating, a nuclear reactor is an experience I will never forget. Being able to take measurements and get data from a real, non-simulated nuclear reactor is an irreplaceable experience, and one I loved every second of.

Culturally, Prague was an amazing experience. This city was beautiful and breathtaking. It was simply like something out of a movie. Also, the history was rich all throughout the city. All the buildings were at least over a hundred years old and looked timeless. The popular tourist attractions such as Prague Castle were beautifully constructed. Everything was so well maintained that these protected sites took you out of time and back to when they were built. The best view was easily from the tower inside the Prague Castle. Pictures cannot even do justice to that view. In addition to Prague, Vienna was equally beautiful. Just like Prague, the city felt ancient but alive. The streets were lined with people enjoying the views just as you.

Overall, visiting Prague and Vienna on this study abroad was simply the best idea I have ever had. I highly encourage anyone that may be considering a study abroad to go after it. If it forces you to get out of your comfort zone, then do it! I know that if I went back a year and told myself that I would be traveling to Europe to take an engineering class, I would laugh in my own face! However, I know now that these experiences are some that I will cherish forever. So, instead of looking back on something and thinking “what if”, go for it! I am glad I decided to go study abroad!

Overlook of Prague, Czech Republic
Old building in the Czech Republic
Braden Copley practicing what he learned in class on a computer