Many of us know we are in a time of high oil prices and strong competition for experienced staff, but what has this meant for students? Increased salaries for graduates, one might argue. However, what does this mean before graduation, and what are the opportunities for students entering colleges around the world?
I am an undergraduate student at the Australian School of Petroleum, but last semester I studied abroad at Colorado School of Mines. Furthermore, I searched for an internship that would add to my domestic experiences. Over the summer, I was offered a position with seismic operator PGS and was sent to a crew in the Sahara of Libya. I have also traveled to parts of Europe, Asia, and the Pacific.
The Association for International Educators believes that an “international education does much more than open eyes and broaden perspective. It is essential for fostering global and cross-cultural knowledge and understanding.” Analysts say that having this kind of experience is an advantage in an increasingly interdependent world, where security and competitiveness have become paramount.
In recent years, many governments and institutions worldwide have been encouraging students to study abroad. Just this past June, for example, the US House of Representatives passed an act providing annual assistance to as many as 1 million American students to study abroad over the next 10 years. Institutions around the world are benefiting from an increase in international students, and programs designed to attract international students are enhancing the learning environment at many schools.
The petroleum industry also increasingly looks for global perspective in the interns and graduate students they recruit. Occidental, for one, states on its website that it seeks internship and graduate students with “global sophistication.”
Drawing from my own experiences with PGS and other travels, I am learning the value of a different perspective from people with different cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. This has enhanced my world view, and I hope it will be valuable in my social circles as well as my career.
More importantly, my period abroad has presented me with new challenges and more adventures, and most of all it has been fun. I am thankful to everyone who has been a part of it. I would like to encourage students to investigate the international programs at their colleges and take on the challenge of an international experience with enthusiasm.
Michael Newman is a petroleum engineering student at the University of Adelaide, Australian School of Petroleum. The Australian School of Petroleum can be accessed at http://www.asp.adelaide.edu.au/.