The program assistant asked the students to explain why the GEA Summer Program “rocked their socks off”; in other words, what made the program so enjoyable. Below are a few of the responses.
The aviation summer program is one of the most amazing and eye opening experiences
of my life so far.
USAMA A. ProGRAM ATTENDEE 2016
It was a completely new and exciting experience and I have gained knowledge both in the aerospace industry and the French culture. Thank you for making this an unforgettable experience!
Ammar A., University of Michigan, program attendee 2014
I had fun. How could I not ? I’m in France.
Jonathon H., University of Texas, program attendee 2014
I enjoyed this program very much. I gained a lot of valuable knowledge, experience, and friendships.
Clare L., University of Michigan, program attendee 2014
Arjun K., University of Syracuse, program attendee 2014
It was a once in a lifetime experience that provided life-changing experiences.
Thomas M., University of Washington, program attendee 2014
The program represents an opportunity to travel to Europe for those who have always dreamed to. Plus, the courses are well explained, the instructors, who know their materials, are clear and available. The industrial and cultural visits were very exciting as well. My top visit was the one at AIRBUS, were we could actually see the A380 assembly line and know more about the process and also the company itself. The trips that we made to Carcassonne, Paris, and Biarritz (just to name those) were fantastic as well. I was excited about the air show in Paris Le Bourget. That was one of the biggest events during the program!
Finally, the staff was so lovely and entertaining. Every single one of them was always available to serve us and help us the best. They rock!
I will definitely recommend this program. There is nothing to lose, just everything to gain.
Lola, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, program attendee 2011
The Summer Aerospace Program in France was one of the best experiences of my life. I didn’t speak a word of French, but that didn’t matter as all the classes and site visits were in English, and we were given French language lessons that came in really handy for ordering food. The dorm facilities were nice, and transportation into the downtown area of Toulouse wasn’t too difficult. Our year got to attend the Paris Air Show, which was incredible in its inclusion of a wide variety of aerospace companies, as well as a number of awesome aircraft. Although some of our site visits were cancelled, we still had the chance to go to a number of interesting places, including AIRBUS, DGA-CEAT, and DAHER-SOCATA, all of which offered an inside view of what a career in aerospace means. The actual classes themselves were all different enough from what we’re taught in the U.S. that they served as a wonderful complement to our U.S. education. In between classes and site visits there was enough free time to go about exploring the city of Toulouse, which has a lot to offer in the way of historic landmarks, shopping, eating, and generally wandering around. The visit to Paris and subsequent trip to Poitiers and Biarritz was lots of fun – kind of like a vacation within the program. All the hotels we stayed at were very nice, and public transportation around the area was fairly simple. The actual coursework required (the reports and quizzes) were nothing too daunting. All in all, the program was a great way to experience a side of aerospace that I never even realized existed. And French food is delicious !
Gina, University of Washington, Seattle, program attendee 2011
This summer program was great! I came to France not knowing the language and unsure of what to expect in this Aerospace program but it turned out to be great beyond any expectations that I could have had. While the college location was not the best, the food was very similar to American dorm food and the instructors were easy to understand and spoke English fairly well. The industry visits were an extremely exciting part of the program as well. It was really neat to be able to see the actual construction process for the different parts of aerospace machinery, and to see a preview of what actual work in the aerospace industry entails. The staff was very good as well, and I really enjoyed the trips that we got to take to places like Marseille and Biarritz. All in all, the program was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone hoping for a future in the Aerospace industry.
Tom Curran, University of Michigan, Ann Harbor, 2010
I got the opportunity to study the aerospace engineering trade while abroad in France. The GEA Summer Aerospace Program is a summer session of intensive aerospace engineering training and European cultural immersion put on by the “Groupe des Ecoles Aéronautiques” for students from partner universities in the US. Fortunately for me, the University of Washington has an exchange agreement with ENSMA in Poitiers, France which is the National Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering University of France. There were four engineering classes taught during this summer session for a group of about 30 students, each one in English, either by a full time professor of one of the French universities, or by a French industry professional. These classes were on the topics of airline management and aviation safety, aircraft structures and materials, combustion and detonation theory, and turbo machinery propulsion. There were also many industrial site visits including tours and informational sessions from such companies as Airbus, ATR, and Eurocopter, Intespace, Messier-Dowty, and Turboméca.
The program also included a few hours of crash course French, giving me a better idea of how to order a sandwich with more than just butter on it. It was an amazing opportunity to apply and explore many concepts I already learned at UW, and to learn many new things not covered in standard undergrad courses. My favorite visit was ATR, because it was exciting to go up to, touch, and go inside the aircraft on the line, which gave an up close look at each technology as it was being installed on their regional aircraft. Experiences like these as a student are hard to come by.
I was surprised that many of the professors in our courses there knew so much about UW and the research being done here. The GEA Summer Program is a strong projection of the international standing of UW, and has been a continued success in bringing to the UW classroom an international course not available to many other universities. The GEA helped me to make the most of my summer months and has helped to ensure that culture and diversity are highlighted and valued at UW through experiences like mine. It was not just interesting and fun, but a worthwhile educational opportunity as well.
Vincent Ethier, University of Washington, Seattle, 2010
I would say that the program “rocked my socks off” because of the wide variety of experiences involved. We touched base on what seemed to be a little bit of everything dealing with France, with the exception of Paris. My favorite part of the trip was definitely Biarritz, as I’m sure many agree.
I would recommend this program to anyone (interested in aerospace, of course) for many reasons: it was a good overview of core aerospace courses, the company visits give you a decent perspective of what the industries have to offer, the cultural visits give you a brief but interesting history lesson about the corresponding region, and the adequate free time gives you opportunity to explore what you’re interested in seeing or doing while overseas.
I found living in France to be surprisingly relaxing. The atmosphere seemed much more laid back than what I’m used to. The only complaints I would have regarding room and board, so to speak, would be the lack of air conditioning and the inconvenience of obtaining food other than through the cafeteria on campus. The air conditioning is understandable, but it would have been nice to have a small convenient store on campus, or JUST off campus that at least runs on the average restaurant hours (so later than 8:15, the time the caf closed on the weekdays). Toulouse was definitely a nice town to live in, with exception to the weather. I don’t know if it was bad luck on our part, but it seemed that it rained in Toulouse quite often. Nonetheless, if we went anywhere else, besides Toulouse, the weather was gorgeous.
Other than that, all I really have to comment on would be the staff that hosted the program. Everyone was very suitable for the occasion. Kirsten, Claude, Anne, Aurélie, Amélie, etc., were all a great bunch to be with throughout the trip. They made it even more enjoyable considering they have the same interests as far as getting out to explore and experience what’s offered.
Brad, University of Michigan, program participant, 2008
This program is incredible. I’ve sat here for a while trying to figure out a better way to describe the program, but nothing comes to mind; it truly is incredible. I learned a lot about the aerospace industry, but also about France. The classes are taught by leaders in French industry and education and the industrial visits give you the chance to see how the industry actually works. I would not trade the experiences I had on this program for anything. If you are wondering whether this program is worth it or whether it will affect your life, just know that it will. In fact, you should be asking yourself not whether this program will affect your life, but HOW this program will affect your life. For me, this program gave me amazing friends, unforgettable experiences, and the realization that engineering is truly an international endeavor.
Kevin, University of Michigan, program participant, 2008
The GEA Summer Program rocked my socks off, and here’s why! Going into the program, I didn’t know what to expect, but I discovered that I had gained a lot from the program. Learning about Aerospace Engineering through classes and industry visits from a European perspective was a valuable experience, offering insight into how engineers operate in other regions of the world. Being in France itself allowed me to explore a culture and region I didn’t know much about. The experience of eating different foods serves as a good example. But what really rocked my socks off in the GEA program was the group of people it managed to gather. The professors were great, the students were life-long-friend worthy candidates, and the group leader (ie. chaperon-esque person) was remarkably amazing. It’s an unforgettable experience.
P.S. Also, the program managed to literally rock my socks off in Cassis, since the atmosphere led to me taking my socks off so I could jump in the cold water.
Vijay, University of Michigan, program participant, 2008