International Challenges in Water Resources

Location of Program: The Netherlands and France      Year: 2017
Program Director(s): Dr. Dan Ames
Participating Major(s): Civil and environmental engineering majors


Netherlands is regarded today as a global leader in water science. Students had the unique opportunity to learn about hydrology, water resources, and hydroinformatics in a setting with a rich history of extreme water challenges. Students were able to work on global water challenge research projects, study the incredible Delta Works and Zuiderzee Works, and learn about the dikes that hold back the North Sea. Students toured the historic windmills and Amsterdam canal system. The program also included a cultural tour to significant places in Paris, France. 

Recap of the Year:

Leadership Development 
Each of the students had the opportunity to guide the rest of the group through their chosen “project” location in the Netherlands. They had each done special research on this specific place, and were able to explain the process, importance, and effects of these engineered locations.

Global Agility
Each day of the trip, the students experienced new pieces of culture in the Netherlands and France. During the first week of the trip, the students were able to work on projects with students of the Twente University and exchange different ideas and solutions to global water engineering problems. Students were able to develop new perspectives and adapt new processes according to cultural needs. 

Technical Experience 
Because the Netherlands is a highly developed country in their water engineering, at each great engineering site, there were private guided tours by experts on the location. The students were able to ask as many questions as they wanted to be able to understand in-depth technical principles that applied to their own projects and careers.

Student Experiences

“I learned that while cultures vary greatly, people everywhere are fundamentally the same and inherently good and that learning about things from the people who are most connected to them and passionate about them is the best way to learn.”- Ali Simpson

“I liked working with all of the other students from the University of Twente. It was cool to hang out with people our age also pursuing technical degrees and to see how their minds work to solve similar issues. Culture really does change people’s outlook and perception of things and being aware of differences like that can make collaborative work with anyone go more smoothly.”- Tyler Bayer