Hi everyone! My name is Tony Spezia and I am a rising senior studying Mechanical Engineering. For the Summer 2023 semester, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Zurich, Switzerland taking Dr. Blache’s ISE 495 Reliability and Business Excellence class with a group of 9 students from a variety of engineering backgrounds. The time spent in Switzerland went by fast with class time and business visits to several companies across several fields, including Mercedes Benz, ABB, Trumpf, and Holcim Cement, as well as getting to explore all that Switzerland had to offer.
The class consisted of business visits, immersion in Swiss culture, and class time with the small group. Being able to learn about how businesses excel from an operations standpoint in the classroom then going to see first hand how these companies are able to apply those lessons was an incredible learning opportunity. We learned about how every business is unique in their cultures, the way they operate, and in their objectives; however, common pillars could be found in how they were organized. The discussions we had as a class on what we learned and saw at our business visits were engaging and insightful, and despite Industrial engineering not being my primary field of study the class helped me see engineering from a whole new perspective and helped me to broaden my horizons to see a more of the picture of how businesses operate from both an engineering and business standpoint.
We were also able to see how the culture was different in Switzerland and Europe compared to the United States, from the cuisine, to the customs, and even to how business is done. Traveling across the country we were able to explore Luzern, Montreux, and of course Zurich. While also having the weekends free! I took advantage of the free time by travelling to the Zermatt in the shadow of the Matterhorn to hit the ski slopes, exploring Engelberg and Mt. Titlus with my classmates, and making a day-trip to hear the hills in Salzburg, Austria!
The opportunity to study with this class truly broadened horizons and helped me to see how beautiful the world is with its stunning mountains, lakes, cities, and people! The connections I made with my classmates will last a lifetime. And the experiences I had are unforgettable!