That Aha Moment: Engineering Study Abroad in Stockholm, Sweden

September 21, 2022

Mary Todd representing the University of Missouri College of Engineering while studying abroad in Sweden

Mary Todd while in Sweden

By Megan Sauls Wilson | MU Undergraduate Studies

“I know what I want to do now!” This seems a simple statement, but Mary Todd, a senior in Biomedical Engineering, entered her Spring 2022 study abroad semester in Stockholm Sweden unsure about the direction of her career. After weeks of hands-on learning, field trips to see research labs in action and opportunities to speak with professionals in her field of study, Todd’s path forward is set. “I want to get my PhD and go into research. After seeing what I’m studying in action, in realistic settings, I know for sure that’s for me.”

Going to Stockholm with a group of students with a common interest provided Todd with a sense of belonging from day one. “It felt as though we were all gaining a new world view as we traveled weekly to experience the real-life application of our combined interests.” The DIS Abroad Program, a non-profit study abroad foundation, provides students with course syllabi and schedules heading into the study abroad semester.

Todd found herself surprised about the overall immersion into hands on learning, “I found myself thinking, ‘oh, this is really hands on!’ Professors would not only let us watch what they were doing, but they’re letting us do it. I just kept saying ‘this is so cool!’”

Small class sizes and in-depth learning labs gave Todd a chance to speak individually with her professors. “Two of my professors were American and got their PhD’s in my field, but on different educational paths. One professor did her education in the states while the other professor earned her doctorate in London. I asked questions constantly and they enjoyed talking about the possible next steps in biomedical engineering.”

The DIS courses allowed Todd to transition quickly into her study abroad semester, “Even though I was living in another country, the classes, and how you learn, was set up like it was in America. So, I had the benefits of living in a foreign country with a learning environment that was familiar. That was nice!”

Combining her field of study with a semester in a different country was an experience Todd cannot stop talking about, “I want to tell every student I see they should study abroad and how my semester in Stockholm helped me figure out what I want to do with my degree.”

This story originally appeared on the MU Undergraduate Studies website.