Engineering students gain overseas experience

For Valparaiso University engineering major Erin Dillon, the opportunity to study and work in Germany for a year is not only enhancing her engineering skills, but helping her become what she calls a “people engineer.”

“Civil engineers work not only with other engineers, but also with clients and the public,” says Dillion. “Working in another country is a great way to develop your communication skills.”

Dillon and fellow engineering major Jon Larson currently are spending a year in Germany as part of the Valparaiso International Engineering Program-German. Watch a video featuring Dillon and Larson on Valpo’s YouTube channel.

Dillon is working a project to build a new multi-purpose center for the city of Reutlingen while Larson is working for WAFIOS, a Reutlingen-based company that produces the machinery that forms coils and springs for a wide variety of applications.

After spending the fall semester taking engineering and German language classes at Valpo’s Reutlingen Study Center, Dillon and Larson have spent the past several months at their VIEP-German work placements.

“The new city center is a great project for the people of Reutlingen because they don’t currently have place for conferences, concerts and other community events,” Dillon said. “Once it’s completed it will really enhance the quality of life for Reutlingen’s citizens.”

Larson has helped translate documents about WAFIOS products from German into English in addition to providing support for computer-assisted design work.

“Work experience in another country is a great way to learn another language, and it’s tough to simulate that in the classroom, especially in a technical area such as engineering,” Larson said. “You also learn about engineering from another perspective, and Germany is well-known for excellence in engineering.:  

More information about the VIEP-German is available online at

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May 20: Concert - Leipzig, Lutherkirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 23: Service - Seyda (10 a.m.) and Gentha (1 p.m.)
May 24: Concert – Rottenburg am Neckar, Wallfahrtskirche Weggental (7 p.m.)
May 25: Choral Workshop – Rottenburg am Neckar (9:30 a.m.)
May 26: Concert - Bernburg, Schlosskirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 27: Concert - Köthen, St. Agnus kirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 28 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (5 p.m.)
May 29 - Cantata - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (3 p.m.)
May 30 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche 10 (a.m.)