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This spring, 16 sophomore Lafayette engineering students spent the semester in Brussels, Belgium studying engineering, art history, languages, and culture at Vesalius College, an English-speaking liberal arts institution associated with Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Scott Hummel, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is leading the trip and teaching several classes.

Students are from all four B.S. engineering programs and must take an engineering ethics class with Hummel. They also are required to take an art history class and have taken field trips to places such as the Belgian cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Brugges; Amsterdam in the Netherlands; Paris; and Trier, Germany. The group also has visited art museums, castles, and the Anne Frank House.

Mechanical engineering major Meghan Vellotti (Flemington, N.J.) is taking four classes while in Brussels. Her course load includes ethics and strengths of materials with Hummel, art history, and French. Though Belgium’s official languages are Dutch and French, all classes are taught in English.

Like most students, Vellotti is living with a host family. She believes the experience allows a study-abroad student to gain a more complete perspective on life in a foreign country.

“My host family consists of a mother and two sons around our age,” she says. “They’re really nice and funny. Having a host family is awesome because you get to learn about Europe from someone who actually lives there, and you get to learn about the culture.”

Hummel notes that Brussels’ central location makes it an ideal starting point for travel. He says reduced train fares and a low-cost airline make side trips for students very affordable. Vellotti has traveled to Amsterdam, Paris, Venice, Rome, Florence, the island of Capri, and the German city of Cologne for the carnival. Other students also have visited London, Dublin, Frankfurt, Prague, Barcelona, Milan, Luxembourg, and Nice.

Other participating students include civil engineering majors Karla Barbiche (Bozeman, Mont.), Lindsey Brough (Durham, Maine), Megan Craig (Hamilton Square, N.J.), Christa Kelleher (Tigard, Ore.), David Kendall (Lebanon, Pa.), Jared Kozemko (Wilkes Barre, Pa.), Bailey Simone (Westfield, Mass.), and Hugo Sindelar (Houston, Texas); electrical and computer engineering majors Steven Bauer (Concord, Mass.) and Michelle Devine (Mount Laurel, N.J.); chemical engineering major Matthew Ide (Durham, Conn.); and mechanical engineering majors Mary Pitz (Millers, Md.), Andrew Rau (Jackson Center, Pa.), Sara Riddle (Gaylordsville, Conn.), and William Salinger (Greensboro, N.C.).

Lafayette offers a variety of faculty-led and other study abroad programs. Over the winter break, more than 170 students took special Lafayette courses in Thailand and Myanmar; Turkey; Greece and Italy; Austria and Germany; Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands; Spain and Portugal; and Hawaii.

For information, contact Roxanne Lalande, director of study abroad programs and professor of French, (610) 330-5918 or Her consultation hours are 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday in 409 Pardee Hall and 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday and Thursday in 1 Markle Hall.

Categorized in: Academic News