Drexel University is known throughout the world for its cooperative program, which celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year. Here at the College of Engineering, 99% of students fulfill at least one co-op during their undergraduate career. But what exactly does a co-op do all day? This column focuses on one student’s experiences for an hour-by-hour deconstruction of the workday, specifically what it's like to complete your co-op experience in a foreign country!
For this entry, we introduce Agustin Quiles, who is pursuing her electrical engineering degree in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Agustin just finished a jetsetting six-month international co-op in Fukuoka, Japan.
Name: Agustin Quiles
Class: BS-EE, class of 2020
Co-op: Shift Energy Japan
Work Performed: PV Designing and Financing
When: Spring/Summer 2018/19
I like to start my days rather early so that I can be fully-focused by the time I get to work...
||...hence my first activity to get rid of grumpiness is to get to the gym and start my day sweating and getting pumped.
||After the gym and a morning run, I've got to get into my mental preparation for the workday (of course, I need to fit a shower in during this timeframe, too. Can't be funky at the office!)
||Right away when I get to the office, I greet my co-workers and write out my to-dos, read and reply to e-mails, and prioritize my big projects. I talk with members of my team and I lay down the groundwork for what the steps steps are for our big projects.
||Now the fun begins and I crack down on my work and start knocking things off of my to-do list!
||Around noon, the team tends to go to lunch, so we usually try to get to a new place and catch up about each other's lives, discuss some projects and what needs to get done.
||Begin addressing some of my external business relationships, for example calling business partners in Spain. Spain tends to wake up about this time of the day and now my international communications team can begin collaborating with the teams and other external partners abroad.
||After these phone calls, I have a better understanding of the needs of our business partners and I begin to move deals forward. On these phone discussions, partner needs are often shared and we look to identify some solutions for these partners so we can get deals underway.
||Participate or lead the solar training seminars we do for our internal teams. The idea of a co-op is to learn as much as possible so I tend to have an allocated time slot with a teammate to either learn from them or to share what I have learned in my co-op. This is the best way to reinforce what you have learned.
||The final hours are usually filled with wrapping up certain assignments that need to be concluded for the day. After that, my team and I head out to grab dinner. The best way to build team spirit is over food! Everybody loves food so we usually try to go to a new restaurant.
Takeaway Message: “Taking an international co-op is an experience in and of itself. Whenever traveling to a different country, it is always intriguing to learn about the unique elements of each culture. Additionally, this internship has been a huge leveling-up for my professional career because I was dealing with so many new external partners and building professional business relationships. There are some skills I learned that directly correlate with my classes like coding in Python and using AutoCAD (almost daily), as well as running the power measurements on system design and developing the SLDs.”