Nathan is a double major in renewable materials and forestry in the College of Forestry. This summer, he participated in our faculty-led program to the Italian Alps. Tradition and Innovation in the Wood Construction Industry: A Journey in the Italian Alps explored the past of European wood architecture and the future of timber engineering in the beautiful Dolomites of Italy.
What originally interested you in studying abroad?
I really wanted to go to Italy, and I thought the program sounded interesting.
What surprised you most during your travels? Why?
Everything. I felt almost constantly surprised. If I have to pick I would say I was most surprised at how purposeful the wilderness is. In the United States, I am never quite sure if a wild place is protected, or just hasn’t been built on yet. In Italy, it was clear by the resort-style “huts” deep in the mountains that they mean to leave that forest a forest. It was also interesting to me to see how close each town was to the next town. It seems like it would make it harder to get horribly lost.
How did your time abroad influence your thoughts on your field of study?
I feel like this trip really cemented in me the idea that my career could be international, and that I would like to do that, at least for part of it.
If you had to pick one, what was your all-time favorite experience while abroad? Why was it so meaningful?
Just talking to people on transit. I feel like I am supposed to have a flashier answer, but I met so many interesting characters in between activities for the program. I was surprised at how few Americans there were, but how many other friendly English-speakers wanted to get to know someone far from home. I guess everyone on transit is a traveler, no matter how many kilometers they cross.
What advice would you give to students considering an international experience?
Stay longer if you can, and rest one of the days you are gone. Don’t be afraid to apply.
What I did this summer is a profile series of students, faculty and staff in the College of Forestry. Did you have a great job, vacation, or field research experience? Contact CoFThisWeek@oregonstate.edu and we will be in touch!