Published on Tuesday March 3, 2009
Pursuing Ph.D. research in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University can take a student beyond the lab, even outside of Philadelphia, and sometimes land them in far flung destinations, expanding their experience to a melee of new culture, climate, food, and people.
From June until September 2008, Ph.D. students Brendan Donohue and Tony Fast of Professor Surya Kalidindi's Mechanics of Microstructures group had the opportunity to expand upon their research while experiencing the dynamic environment of India. Both students were supported on a National Science Foundation (NSF) International Research and Education in Engineering (IREE) grant to pursue research in Bangalore, India with the General Motors Materials Characterization and Modeling Group.
In addition to his time in the lab, Tony had the opportunity to travel around southern India. Experiencing culture shock, he found it challenging and awe-inspiring to navigate through the language barriers, not to mention to confront the economic disparity and monsoon season. "Despite the culture shock, it was an amazing experience to travel around the country via train and bus while learning quite [a bit] about the spiritual backbone of the [sic] Indian culture," said Tony.
Brendan also found life in India to be a challenge. When pursuing study abroad, he advises students to "be patient" and to focus on their work.
"I would suggest trying to throw out every preconceived you have about the world out of your head," quips Tony, "to truly experience your travel abroad."