Additional Information:

International Opportunities in Engineering

International Outreach Opportunities

Penn Abroad Programs

For more information on Study Abroad, contact the SEAS Study Abroad Coordinator, Sonya Gwak. If you would like more information on Service Learning Oppurtunities, contact the SEAS Director for Global and Local Service Learning Programs, Dr. Ocek Eke.



International Internships

Student Spotlight:

Rohini Kopparam, International Internship in Guatemala

Tell us a little about yourself (name, where you are from, academic interests, etc.)
My name is Rohini Kopparam, and I am from Irvine, California. I am majoring in Bioengineering and am also pursuing a minor in Chemistry and Bioethics.
When and where did you study abroad/do your short- term abroad experience?
During the summer of 2014, I interned abroad in Santiago Atitlan, a rural, indigenous town in the highlands of Guatemala. I participated in the International Internship Program offered by Penn. 
What did you learn about your field of study from your study abroad/short- term abroad experience? What did you learn about the culture in which you had your experience?
I learned a great deal about health care in developing nations. Though there isn't a way to encompass everything, the most important thing I learned about living abroad is to go without assumptions. A big mistake is to assume certain facts, in my case, about the health care system, which could negatively impact my research. The indigenous Maya community within which I was living has strong ties to their spirituality, so it was really interesting to learn about the spiritual causes of disease that biomedicine often ignore .
What did you learn about yourself from your experience?
I learned a great deal about relating to different kinds of people. Not only did I learn a lot about connecting to the narratives of a developing community, but I also learned to abandon any preconceived notions about health care that I held. Working with a group of eight other Penn students in such close proximity also forced me to rationalize all my decisions efficiently. What this means is that when 9 Penn students get together to decide travel plans and research goals. I t can be difficult to arrive at one outcome easily, so I learned that, if I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish, we'd be one step closer to agreeing on a satisfying goal.
Give an example of an experience you wouldn't have had if you had not studied abroad.
If I didn't intern abroad, I would never have been able to improve my Spanish language skills. Also, I never would have met some of my fellow Penn students doing amazing work. Finally, I wouldn't have been able to jump into a beautiful lake almost daily and travel so inexpensively in a country where the history is exposed for us to soak it in.
When did you start thinking of studying abroad/participating in a short- term abroad experience?
I started thinking about applying for an abroad experience in the winter before my internship. I knew that I wanted to experience living in a foreign country during my college career, but I also knew that, given the extensive requirements of the BE curriculum, I didn't want to devote an entire semester away from Penn. I think the International Internship Program (IIP) was a great experience because I received funding and was able to explore my interests outside of BE, including women's public health .
How did you decide on a program? Tell us a little about the program you chose.
I had applied for many research programs, but IIP was the only international experience that I applied for. I was choosing between a lab research program and IIP, and having already worked in a lab for a summer, I decided IIP would be better. IIP is offered through Penn Global and provides placements all around the world in different fields, such as business, social impact, and health care. I specifically chose the Guatemala Health Initiative because I am really interested in Latin American cultures and could improve my Spanish through this experience.
What advice would have for students interested in studying abroad or a short- term abroad experience?
I would suggest applying to as many programs as you can possibly find. Though the deadlines are all really close together, you can usually write up one application and modify it for specific programs. Also, apply for IIP -- it funds programs all around the world and takes place during the summer, so you won't be missing out on a semester of Penn.

The Ruhr Fellowship Program connects highly motivated undergraduate students in the United States to unique experiences to expand their portfolios and networks to one of the most dynamic and technologically advanced areas in Germany. As Germany’s “Cradle of Industry,” the Ruhr Area has come to represent creativity and innovation with its internationally renowned companies, universities, and research institutes. The program is seeking top students interested in a new hands-on experience next summer as one of 15 Ruhr Fellows. From June 1 through July 31, 2014, you will get to know the German higher educational system through a one-month intercultural and language summer school program, as well as the German work environment, in a challenging one-month internship with one of the leading German companies and roundtable discussions with executives representing a variety of German global players. Learn more. You may also download the presentation (3.96MB PDF) from a previously held information session.

International Internship Program (IIP)

Penn’s International Internship Program (IIP) provides opportunities for outstanding undergraduate students to intern abroad for eight to 12 weeks. Below are some of the many options for Bioengineering students and links to where you can find more detailed information.

The Penn International Internship Program, Multiple Locations
Penn's International Internship Program (IIP) offers Penn students the amazing opportunity to intern with an established non-governmental or non-profit organization for eight to twelve weeks in the summer. This is an exciting opportunity to work directly for an NGO or a local organization in a developing country. In the past, IIP has sent students to Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Kenya, Rwanda, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Tanzania, India and China. Learn more.


Non-IIP Placements

Below we have listed opportunities for our students that we can recommend, based on what we know to be quality and reliable sponsors. Penn Bioengineering does not have an established relationship with these organizations listed in the following categories, although they have hosted many Penn BE interns in the past. See below for more information.

International Summer Research

International Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (iSure)
Opportunities for undergraduates are available during the summer to spend eight to 12 weeks on a research internship in one of Penn Engineering's partner institutions abroad. The following is a listing of currently available options, including directions for applying. General questions may be directed to Research and Academic Services, at

Germany: Ruhr University Bochum
The Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) is offering opportunities for up to five (5) Penn Engineering undergraduates to spend a summer (eight to 12 weeks) at RUB as part of their REACH initiative. Lodging will be provided by RUB. Students must provide their own round-trip transportation, as well as living costs. Proof of adequate insurance coverage is also required. Learn more, or see a list of openings.

Germany: UROP at RWTH Aachen University
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at RWTH Aachen University fosters research partnerships between qualified undergraduates from top U.S. and Canadian universities. The program is specifically designed for students who wish to attain hands-on experience in fundamental research at one of the top universities of science and technology worldwide.

France: GIANT Innovation Campus
The Nano/Bio Interface Center will support all expenses related to travel and accommodations for a 10-week research exchange in Grenoble, France, this summer for graduate or undergraduate research. To apply, visit the NBIC Web site.

Ways to participate in International Experiences: