Summer Break, a Time to Learn and Explore

The summer holiday proved to be a busy time. I started academic training as a process control panel intern at Equipment & Controls Inc. (ECI) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Through this internship, I learned a lot about how to design and build process control panels such as Remote Automation Systems and Emerson DeltaV Systems. Additionally, several trainings were provided internally to employees and interns. More specifically, I was able to prepare and run the drilling and cutting machine (Steinhauer), assist in the Factory Acceptance Test, and contribute to on-time deliveries. As a bonus, I fell in love with the health and fitness culture at ECI, I have been able to build my strength and to keep a well-balanced diet.

During my internship, I became familiar with automation and control systems which is a really important skill. I also had to get used to the American way of tackling complex technical programs and staying in touch with my classmates which helped enhance my capabilities. It was challenging to maintain the same pace with the work and structured methodology and to keep my tasks well organized. Moreover, the technical skills I learned will allow me to work in any industrial field.

Eating lunch with co-workers at my summer internship.
At a baseball game with co-workers.

Summer also gave me the chance to attend a variety of social events organized by the Algerian community as well as by several American friends in Pittsburgh such as a Ramadan dinner, Eid day, July 4th fireworks, graduation party, World Cup watch party, and watching a baseball game.

Through these activities, I had the opportunity to meet several interesting people from different backgrounds. I developed a mutual understanding and respect for different people’s cultures and traditions. Fulbright is an experience through which we learn how to accept the differences and build bridges of harmony and prosperity between nations.

Spending time with my aunt in Pittsburgh.

Additionally, I had the opportunity to travel to different destinations within the U.S. First, I visited Washington D.C. — a city full of history and culture. I loved the buildings and the architecture, especially the Library of the Congress and National Archives Museum. It was awesome to walk around and admire the beauty of the American nation.

In front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
By the reflecting pool between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

After that, I visited New York City, the best hub ever! I had the chance to meet some of my French and American friends during my stay. New York City is a huge dynamic city and the biggest global hub in the world. I visited famous monuments, hotels, museums; it was intense! I attended the Good Morning America show, went for a run in Central Park, visited luxurious hotels and galleries, had one of the best milkshakes of my life, and visited the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street.

At the World Trade Center in New York City.
On a run at Central Park in New York City.

As the summer holidays were nearing an end, I was so excited to make one more trip and travel to Lake Erie. It is considered the 11th largest lake in the world and the 4th largest of the five Great Lakes when measuring surface area. Safe to say, the visit was such an amazing experience.

At Lake Erie with my friend, Josh.

These summer activities opened my eyes in different ways. It was my first stay in the northeastern part of the United States. I noticed tremendous differences in culture between the south and the north such as words or phrases used. It was also the first time I worked for an American company. I became familiar with this completely new professional environment — I learned how to work hard, be disciplined, and respect my coworkers. And of course, I learned how to have fun and establish good relationships with my colleagues based on mutual respect and friendship. It was a summer to remember.

Mohamed is a Fulbright scholar from Algeria. He is currently earning his Master’s in Industrial and System Engineering at Auburn University in Alabama.

Fulbright Foreign Student Program in MENA blog. Sponsored by U.S. Dept of State.