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Meet Quinn Fonner

Program and Location:

Summer, Finance and Accounting in Reutlingen; Reutlingen, Germany


Mechanical Engineering with Business Administration minor

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Coming into college, I knew that I wanted to study abroad but didn’t think it was feasible. I am an engineer who is also studying for 5 years due to a co-op program. This opportunity fell into my lap when I discovered I could go away for half the summer to finish out my minor. I jumped at it because of this chance to complete my minor and be abroad, but I also just wanted the overall experience of leaving the continent.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I am resilient and resourceful in stressful situations. I learned that I am open to different experiences and enjoy being abroad and experiencing these new things.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

My favorite part was a weekend trip we took to Switzerland. While there we went to Jungfraujoch which is a mountain in the Alps with the the highest train station in Europe. Being up above the clouds in the Alps was the coolest experience of my life.

How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?

We went on 4 business tours/visits that would not have happened here. These “field trips” were very beneficial to seeing how work is conducted in the real world.

What was your experience with navigating COVID-19 abroad?

Traveling during COVID-19 wasn’t too bad. We only had to wear masks inside trains and some buildings but not many. It really wasn’t a huge issue in my opinion, especially because Germany lifted travel testing requirements right before we left.

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?

Being able to travel to different businesses such as Merced-Benz Daimler and Stoll allowed me to see both the business and engineering side of manufacturers. I was able to see things from a different perspective, having worked in manufacturing for my co-op. I saw similarities and differences in how we conduct our business.

Were you surprised by anything during your time abroad?

I’d say the only thing I was surprised about was how widely English was spoken. I knew that many Europeans learned it as a second language, but there were very few places where not knowing German was a liability. Don’t let that fear stop you from traveling!

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

I would tell future abroad students to take it all in and don’t say “no”. Be outgoing and look on the positive side of situations. Try everything you can because you don’t know when you’ll ever be back.

Would you do it again?

Is that even a question? 😉