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Student Success

Students from Around the World Share Disciplines, Cultures in Lyon, France

Photo of Vieux Lyon, taken by Anna Haskins

By Mary Giuffrida

The Summer School of Science and Engineering sits nestled in the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers in Lyon, France. It’s there that Anna Haskins spent last summer studying and exploring the historic city.

The textile engineering junior was one of three NC State students to attend the Summer School, which draws students from all over the world looking to expand their knowledge while abroad. 

Anna Haskins posing in front of the Rhône river in Lyon, France.
Haskins in front of the Rhône river in Lyon, France.

“I’ve always wanted to study abroad because I feel like that’s an experience that’s once in a lifetime, and you should really take advantage of it if you have the opportunity,” Haskins says.

Sharing Disciplines

Attending the Summer School gave her the perfect opportunity to push herself academically in a completely new environment. All the students in the program completed two classes during their stay in France: a French class and a general science class which explored topics in the broader engineering and science fields. 

“My favorite lab that we did was colorimetry,” Haskins says. “It’s color matching, which is a very specific skill set that not a lot of people have.”

Anna Haskins standing with an anti-aging machine in a leather manufacturing lab.
Haskins with an anti-aging machine in a leather manufacturing lab

The colorimetry lab, and another lab where the students dyed and finished leather using albino alligator skin, tied specifically back to textiles and textile engineering, a field many of the other students had never encountered before.

“We also did a lab where we finished a textile fiber with a fluorocarbon so it became water and oil repellent,” Haskins explains. “Everyone who wasn’t a textile major thought it was the coolest thing, and I really liked seeing that reaction.”

Broadening Horizons

While the students shared their majors and studies in class, outside of the classroom they also shared the languages and cultures they brought with them from around the world. The program organized events for the students every weekend, taking them on adventures like a pastry making class, a winery tour, and a hike through the Alps.

“I definitely learned a lot about the cultures of Mexico, the UK and Sweden specifically,” Haskins says. “The United States is completely different from those countries, so I really learned how to interact with people.”

This interaction extended beyond just her classmates and the city of Lyon. Haskins spent weekends traveling to other cities and countries, taking in some of the most beautiful sights around the world.

“Every weekend we would travel to another city,” she says. “I think my favorite was Geneva. It was really amazing to see it and experience everything. There are so many cultures coming together there.”

Anna Haskins posing for a selfie in Annecy, France
Haskins in Annecy, France on a weekend excursion.

Haskins also spent time enjoying everything the city of Lyon has to offer, trying new foods and exploring the many different districts of the city.

“Lyon is known as the food capital of France and after eating there I can understand why,” she says. “Some of the amazing Lyonnaise dishes were pike quenelle which is a light, fluffy fish soufflé. Another specialty was pink pralines which are a combination of sugar and nuts to create this dessert which looks like a raspberry and is used to create tartes, pastries and ice cream.”

Along with her new memories of traveling and exploring, Haskins says she also brought a focus on sustainability back with her to the Wilson College of Textiles this fall.

“The Summer School is focused around sustainability,” she explains. “It made me focus more on my impact, and how I can play a positive role in the textile industry.”