WKU manufacturing students given chance to study in Germany

Aaron Frasier

A new exchange program is providing manufacturing students with the opportunity to study abroad in Germany.

Greg Arbuckle, associate professor of Architect and Manufacturing Sciences, said he visited Reutlingen University last year and decided to start an exchange program between the university and WKU.

“We looked at all the curriculum and realized they align really well,” Arbuckle said.

Currently, Lexington senior Marc Mercier is studying at Reutlingen University for a semester.

Mercier said he loves Germany and meeting people who speak different languages. The experience has motivated him to start learning German and to continue when he returns.

A typical day abroad consists of classes, including European business law and manufacturing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mercier said he plays soccer and eats dinner afterward. Mercier also takes part in the local nightlife.

Arbuckle said that in the spring, Reutlingen will send two or three students to the Hill and WKU hopes to send students again next fall.

“As of now, their schedule does not align with ours,” Arbuckle said. “So we can’t really send students over there in the spring semester. Our students will have to do the fall and their students will have to come here during the spring.”

In November, Arbuckle will take seven students to Reutlingen to complete their senior capstone course. This course is a one-week project where students focus on a single project.

“The instructor assigns the topic on the Friday before that class begins,” Arbuckle said. “They have until that next Friday to do their presentation of what they come up with.”

Vail, Ariz., senior Jay McDorman is one of the seven students who will be going in November.

“We are going to see how well their curriculum fits in with ours,” McDorman said. “We should be able to step right into theirs and see how well our programs fit together.”

Arbuckle said he hopes that in future semesters WKU students can participate in the senior capstone project on campus.

Additionally, Arbuckle said he would like to eventually see the facilities at WKU and Reutlingen University be similar enough so as students transfer back and forth the equipment will still be familiar.

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this was that in part of my master’s program, I spent nine days in Sweden,” Arbuckle said. “Out of all of my courses I took in that program, I learned more in that nine days in Sweden than in any other course I attended.”