Hey guys! I'm Erika, one of the new bloggers for the fall 2012 semester. This semester, I'll be studying away in Japan, at the International Christian University just outside Tokyo, in a city called Mitaka. I'll be blogging less about Olin and more about what it's like to be an Olin student in another country, at a liberal arts school, doing non-engineer-y things which will hopefully be just as awesome.
I'm pretty excited for that, but in the meantime, I'm finishing up my internship at Boston Scientific, heading to the Cape this weekend, New York City next weekend, and then going home (to the SF Bay Area) to see my
dog family, because I haven't been home since January. And then I'm off to Tokyo!
It's taken quite a bit of planning, going back and forth with ICU and Olin, working out financial aid and credit transfer and stuff. I've known I wanted to study away in Japan for a while- since about sophomore year of high school, so I started planning in earnest around the beginning of last year (my sophomore year of Olin) - that's about a semester earlier then people usually do. I'm glad I did start early though, because I was able to plan my class schedule around my semester abroad. Theoretically, I could also have started the actual applications early, but who does that?
There are two main reasons I decided to go in the fall instead of the spring. One, most Japanese schools start in April, so if I'd done that, I would have ended up with an awkward part of a semester free and no summer break. The school I'm going to is an international school, so they have a September start date AND an April start date. The other is that there are too many MechE classes I need to take that are only offered in the spring.
The class schedule is something to be very aware of if you're planning on studying away. You can make it work, but it might mean some ridiculous 20+ credit semesters. A word of caution to anyone who might be planning something similar: If you take 3 of the most time-consuming classes Olin offers in one semester, and then decide you're going to take 2 more classes, get scuba diving certified, have a part-time job on campus, and do research, you'll rack up quite a bit of sleep debt. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just make sure you have a decent supply of coffee, tea, mate, energy drinks, or whatever caffeinated substance you desire.