This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to go on Viterbi Summer Overseas and spend 7 weeks studying in Paris, France. This program takes about 40 students every year to a different country in Europe and is open to all engineering majors. On the contrary to traditional study abroad, going abroad with the Viterbi Overseas program is a lot simpler since these classes are preapproved for your major requirements and you are being taught by USC professors that are flown overseas with you.

One of the many benefits is that you are going abroad with other USC Viterbi students so you get to know your classmates better. When I went abroad, I knew two of the 44 people going on the trip, but I’m so glad I went because I became friends with everyone. In addition, the program arranges housing for the students in multiple different apartments around the city which allows students to see different parts of where you’re living when visiting others to study and do work.

Students take classes Monday through Thursday and then have the weekends free. I loved the aspect of going abroad not only to get ahead on engineering coursework but to learn the history and culture of another country. About three weekends, Viterbi plans Friday excursions for students to learn about things unique to the country you are in. One of the Friday excursions in France was to visit the Champagne region in Reims, France, where we got to learn about the history and see how champagne is made. The program also takes the students on one weekend to another part of the country and last year, the trip was up to the beaches of Saint-Malo, France, which is a port city in Brittany, in France’s northwest. Surprisingly, the entire city is surrounded by tall granite walls because it used to be a stronghold for privateers. We also visited Mont Saint-Michel, which used to be a medieval monastery that occasionally becomes an island off the coast of France when high tide of the English Channel comes in.

On free weekends, where we don’t have Friday excursions, students have enough time to take trips to other countries to explore the rest of Europe! Since everything was so close, I was able to visit Amsterdam, Netherlands, Berlin, Germany, Rome & Florence, Italy, as well as extend my stay after the program ended to spend some time in London, England. One of my favorite parts of the trip was when some of my friends and I traveled to Rome, Italy, and met Zendaya!

The application opens mid-October and closes early November and requires a personal statement as well as a panel interview to see if the program is the right fit for you. The program is available to all engineering students and was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. If you are considering studying abroad, this program cannot be overlooked!

Mark Parent

Mark Parent

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Diamond Bar, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @mvparent On campus, I am part of the National Society of Black Engineers and was a Resident Assistant for the McCarthy Honors College. I have also conducted research in the Immersive Audio Lab and have a Sports Business & Management Minor!