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Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science Students Reflect on Study Abroad

Polymer and Color Chemistry student Sruthi Koppol poses surrounded by French architecture in an alleyway in Lyon, France.
Sruthi Koppol posing in a French alleyway in Lyon, France.

By Kaylee Jacobs

This summer, Wilson College of Textiles students from the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science expanded upon their education by studying abroad. We asked a few students to share how these incredible experiences impacted both their academic and personal growth.

Jordan Everett 

  • Junior
  • B.S. Textile Technology
  • Perugia, Italy
Jordan Everett stands among a crowd of visitors and poses in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy.
Jordan Everett visits the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy.

Why did you want to study abroad and why did you choose the program you did?

Studying abroad has been a life goal for me. After hearing about another student’s experience, I knew this was something I wanted to do. Exploring the world has opened my mind to new possibilities, taught me many lessons and allowed me to experience another culture. 

I chose the Italian Language and Culture program because it has always been a dream of mine to go to Italy. This program stood out because it allowed me to travel to different areas and do excursion activities within the regions we explored. This program provided me with a once-in-a-lifetime experience where I was able to see worldwide landmarks. 

Jordan stands with her peers in front of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy.
Jordan with her study abroad group in the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy.

The main reason I chose this program is to see the beautiful city of Rome. I’ve always wanted to see the Coliseum. In middle school, I had the opportunity to learn Latin and our teacher taught us a lot about Roman history and culture. I had the chance to see the sights she described within the course and the history we often discussed. The Romans were the first to establish technical equipment as early civilizations, so to see their historical sites firsthand was a dream come true.

What was your favorite thing you experienced while abroad? 

My favorite thing I experienced while studying abroad was the culture. Italian culture is truly one of a kind, from Cappuccino for breakfast to Carbonara as a first course during dinner. I truly enjoyed being around a different culture and experiencing a lifestyle I never experienced. 

I also enjoyed the classes we could take at the University of Perugia and learning more about the rich history of Italy and how their culture translates to ours. Being able to take another language was another amazing pleasure while being abroad. 

Did studying abroad impact how you view your education and/or your career path?

Studying abroad allowed me to witness the effect of textiles worldwide. The program that I went on was a general program, but I could still observe textiles within Italy. The history of textiles is very rich in Italy and goes back to the 11th century. I explored textile mills and embroidery shops within the smaller cities where people still create many fabrics and materials by hand. 

Jordan Everett and peers pose for a picture on a bridge over a canal in Venice, Italy.
Jordan and her study abroad group pose on a bridge in Venice, Italy.

I also saw many well-known Italian fashion stores such as Gucci, Prada, and Armani. Being able to see two different sides of the textile industry exploring Italy showed me the Italian textile industry’s diversity. It would be an amazing opportunity to come back and be a part of the innovation the culture adds to textiles.

Would you do it again if given the chance? 

Overall, I would do this experience again. I truly enjoyed the time I had abroad. I met many new people from all over the world and the United States and many became good friends. 

Being able to adapt to another culture and environment was very difficult at first. Eventually, I figured it out and became more comfortable with my background. I would love to travel to Italy again and visit more areas.

Sruthi Koppol

  • Senior
  • B.S. Polymer and Color Chemistry
  • Lyon, France
Sruthi Koppol looks at a painting in a gallery. The photo is taken from over behind.
A famous Monet painting that I loved seeing at the Monet Museum in Paris, France.

Why did you want to study abroad and why did you choose the program you did?

I chose to study abroad to make the most of my undergraduate experience through the ITECH Summer School in Engineering and Science program in Lyon, France which offered a unique course load relevant to my Polymer and Color Chemistry lab work I’ve been exposed to thus far at NC State.

What was your favorite thing you experienced while abroad?

My favorite thing I experienced abroad was the comfortability and atmosphere provided by the faculty and admissions counselors of ITECH throughout our coursework and weekly field trips. I loved having the real-world view of our laboratory session on leather applications when we toured Tanneries Roux in  Roanne, France where designer leather manufacturing takes place, and dinner with a French family trying authentic French dishes.

Multiple leather samples of an array of browns are draped over hooks on display.
Leather samples manufactured at Tanneries Roux in Roanne, France.

Did studying abroad impact how you view your education and/or your career path?

It impacted my perspective on AATCC standards used around the world and the importance of global collaboration in different industries, specifically textiles. Although I am interested in Optometry School, study abroad deepened my knowledge on the importance of a global standard in communicating textile colors and processes. I hope to be in touch with the textile industry through eye care and glasses companies I hope to work with as a future optometrist.

Koppol is in a cosmetics lab holding a lipstick case containing a bright pink pigmented lipstick that she created.
Sruthi Koppol holds a product from Cosmetics Lab day at ITECH where she is creating lipstick from scratch as a lab experiment and running the results through standard testing protocols.

Would you do it again if given the chance?

I would definitely participate in a program like this again and take a chance to appreciate the culture,local events and markets more than I was able to in the short four weeks I was in Lyon, France. I would also ask more questions about global collaboration and sustainability efforts in the leather industry, cosmetology, and small businesses within France and around Europe.