PSU students experience unique study opportunity in Germany 

  Monday, November 11, 2019 12:00 PM
  Academics, News

Pittsburg, KS

Plastics students in Germany

Nine students majoring in Plastics Engineering Technology at Pittsburg State took their learning experience out of the classroom — way out of the classroom, over the Atlantic Ocean, and into Europe! 

The trip was made possible with a grant from the PSU Professors Beyond the Classroom program, funded by the Student Government Association, with additional sponsorship from Study Abroad, with the help of corporate sponsors Alpha Packaging, Big 3 Precision, Harold Payne Plastics, Orbis, PTA Plastics, Reiloy USA, Forte, Silgan Dispensing, and Viega.     

Together with Associate Professor Rebeca Book and former faculty member Don Book, the group attended the K Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany — the world’s largest plastic and rubber trade show, with 230,000 attendees and 1.9 million square feet of exhibits in 17 buildings. 

Lexington Peterson, a junior from LaCygne, Kansas, said it allowed her and her classmates to be exposed to countless jobs, internships, and the latest innovations in plastics and polymers. 

“It also immersed us in another country's culture for a week,” she said. “An experience like this is one that simply cannot be taught in a classroom environment." 

Kylie DeClue, a senior from Kansas City, Missouri, said the trip was “an unforgettable experience.” 

“Germany is rich in cultural history that significantly varies from our culture here in the United States. Being able to experience that first-hand was much more rewarding and educational than reading about it in books or seeing pictures online,” DeClue said. “We got to experience real German food and beverages, as well as traveling by train and subway. We even got a private tour of the Cologne Cathedral in the center of town." 

Caleb Thompson, a senior from Pittsburg who was nervous at first, described the trip as “incredible.” 

“We stayed in Cologne and the city had a rich, intriguing history, including a cathedral that took 600 years to build, starting in 1248,” he said. “By contrast, at the trade show, we saw the latest and greatest innovations in the plastics industry. The show featured companies from all continents — an education in and of itself.” 

Thompson said it was interesting to see how the culture of a company's home country influences their business, and how that influence differs from other companies from different countries. 

“I suggest that if you ever have the chance to do a study abroad, even if it is only a week, to do it! There are some things in this world that are meant to be seen, meant to be experienced, meant to be lived," he said. “I am so thankful that Rebeca Book and Pittsburg State offered me this experience. I'll never forget it.”  

Other students on the trip included Timothy Adcock of St. Louis, Missouri; Carson Butz of Overland Park, Kansas; Haley Denton of Fort Scott, Kansas; Camille Holman of Cassville, Missouri; Andrew Huffman of Pittsburg, Kansas; and Devyn Rexwinkle of S. Coffeyville, Oklahoma.