In a trip built by engineers for engineers, three students from U-M Climate and Space are traveling abroad to explore culture and engineering across international lines with eTrek. Jeremie Mede Moussa, Nathan Smith, and Nelvin Chummar Vincent joined graduate students of all backgrounds from the College of Engineering to take the Michigan Israel Engineering Trek 2022.
The student-led trip guides engineering students on a tour of Israel, a nation that boasts the highest density of scientists and tech professionals in the world. Students get a chance to explore water technologies that help the desert bloom, algorithms changing the field of cybersecurity, and innovations in biotechnology and robotics. Along the way, students can also immerse themselves in the culture, cuisine, history and future of the nation.
“Israel has the highest number of start-ups per capita in the world, and I’m interested in seeing what kind of setting breeds that enthusiasm for start-ups and what I can learn from it when I go on to make my own,” said Vincent.
Originally from the Middle East, Vincent said he is excited to experience Israel in a manner that is free from any social or political bias. He has always considered himself open-minded to new cultures, and he’s excited to see how the trip can help him grow in his field as he earns his Master of Engineering (MEng) in Space Engineering at U-M.
“As an engineer, I think it might help me get used to what to expect from engineering in smaller-scale move-fast-break-things startups; unlike the more traditional approach I am used to,” he said.
eTrek guides students through factory tours, sightseeing, and networking with the tech community during their visit. The group joins a start-up’s executives and engineering leadership for product demonstrations, lunches with Israeli engineering students, and tours new civil engineering projects.
Before leaving for eTrek 2022, Moussa and Smith shared their excitement for the opportunity, which was funded by the department. They connected as classmates in the Master of Engineering in Space Engineering program at U-M Climate and Space.
“eTrek is meant to expand your view of the engineering world,” said Moussa, who was born in France and has traveled to many countries across the world. “The second objective is to have students be immersed in the culture.”
He planned to share photos and stories from the experience on Instagram, using the hashtag #ETREK2022.
“We’re both really curious to learn about different cultures and the differences in how we approach engineering,” said Smith.
eTrek 2022 builds upon the success of the first two eTreks held at the University of Michigan. The itinerary blends engineering tours with visits to local sites, such as the Dead Sea, the Old City of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. To learn more about eTrek, visit etrekmichigan.org.