Preparing engineering students to work in a global environment to co-operate, to communicate and to compete
Since the inception in 1987 of European funding programmes the number of students and the range of countries annually involved in international exchange have increased dramatically. In order to comply with this international development, the European Project Semester (EPS) was started in 1995. Since then, more and more students, also from universities outside Europe, have applied annually for EPS. Here participants are exposed to cross-cultural understanding and communication, which is essential for improvement and harmonization of European/global engineering education. This paper describes our experience with EPS where we do international student teamwork. Each semester a maximum of 50 international students, from typically 12 different countries, are approved to join this course. They come from different areas of study in engineering, business and technology. The paper describes the course structure, how the course is started and how a student can choose a project he/she wants to work on, and also the formation of project groups is described. Further, involvement of students in defining, planning and navigation of their project is mentioned. Students attend at the beginning of the semester a team-building course and a short intensive course in project management where they learn how to manage an engineering project.