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Freiburg, Germany, home of the 2012 Maymester led by Senior Lecturer Billy Wood.

Freiburg, Germany, home of the 2012 Maymester led by Senior Lecturer Billy Wood.

Senior Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department, Billy Wood, is offering a four-week Maymester class in Freiberg, Germany for the first time in 2012. Mr. Wood, who studied both engineering and architecture, has taught ME 210 and ME 302 for 32 years and served as the Undergraduate Student Faculty Advisor for 13 of those years. Mr. Wood's freshman CAD drawing and drafting class (or an equivalent) is required for all mechanical, civil and aerospace engineering undergraduates. This class is only offered to engineering and engineering route to business students. The Maymester course is equivalent to the classes ME 210 and 302 as taught in Austin, but compressed into a shorter time frame. Students are in class four days a week, and have three-day weekends each week to allow for travel that is incorporated into the trip. Freiburg's housing is relatively inexpensive which will make the experience quite affordable.

Freiburg, Germany, view travel slideshow

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Engineering students have frequently asked if the department has a study abroad program in Germany. For decades German engineering has been equated with quality and held in high esteem. Wood, unaware of any faculty-led program in Germany, has chosen to address the high demand for such a program by offering a 2012 Maymester course in Freiburg, Germany. The Freiburg Maymester will be offered in 2012 and 2014. The Vienna Maymester will be offered in 2013.

This photo illustrates Freiburg's green approach to transportation.

This photo illustrates Freiburg's green approach to transportation. Photo by Imran Quadri, 2005, Creative Commons License.

Located in the southwest region of Germany, Freiburg is about a six-hour drive to Paris, and a three-hour drive to CERN in Geneva, where students will see the Large Hadron Collider. Freiburg was an independent medieval town that has grown into one of the major university centers of Europe. Arguably the greenest city in the world, Freiburg has made major commitments to reducing greenhouse gases, reducing reliance on nuclear energy, expanding solar and other renewable energy sources, improving public transportation, and reducing the community's carbon footprint. Albert Ludwig's University there is one of Europe's most prestigious and has been home to some of the West's greatest thinkers, including Max Weber, Friedrich Hayek, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Heidegger.

Freiburg is old, yet modern; a center for learning and research, and actively implementing changes to help the environment. "In the U.S., we talk about implementing changes to protect the environment. We argue about how difficult it will be to change," said Wood. "We talk; Freiburg does." A mere glance at the cityscape makes this clear. Solar panels can be found on the roofs of schools, churches, private houses, and the local stadium. Wind turbines rise above the 6,400 hectacre Black Forest, which the city maintains as its "green lungs." Twenty kilometers south of the city lies an incineration facility for non-recyclable waste - one that maintains high environmental standards while simultaneously providing electricty to 25,000 households through the fermentation of bio-organic waste.

But it isn't just the infrastructure and abundant sunlight of Freiburg that make its environmental policies possible. The city's citizens, known for their love of cycling and recycling, are equally instrumental in making environmental goals a reality. Since 1986, the city has supported the development of its own solar energy projects and funding programs. The solar technology industry in Freiburg, in return, has created over 1,000 jobs in 80 business operations. Furthermore, the city's worldwide reputation in fields such as solar engineering, traffic policy, and environmental and climate protection have resulted in regular conferences and trade fairs, national and international awards, and a strong tourism image.

"I was able to see the facility, the Albert Ludwigs University, student housing, local restaurants, public transportation, and several solar homes, businesses, and apartments in a busy two days. It is the perfect location for the course. Freiburg is the home to a major university, a strong engineering research community, and high-technology manufacturing in a community committed to environmental responsibility."
— Billy Wood

Senior Lecturer Billy Wood

Senior Lecturer Billy Wood

Billy Wood, Award-Winning Teacher

Engineering students consistently select Mr. Wood as a top-notch educator. In 2010 he received two student appreciation awards for his teaching. Students find him knowledgeable, personable, helpful and encouraging. They note he is a particularly good professor for freshmen. In a department video, where students discuss teaching engineering they had this to say about Mr. Wood: "Billy Wood. He is a good teacher. He is good at putting freshmen at their ease and making them feel like ... 'Don't drop out of engineering. You can do it!'"

The 2010-11 Vienna Maymesters, a Great Success

In 2010 and 2011 Mr. Wood offered a Maymester program in Vienna, Austria, a European center of art and music. Hosted by the Institute for European Studies, the two trips provided 19 and 20 students, respectively, the opportunity to study engineering design at the Palace Corbelli, a traditional art and music facility in the historical first district of Vienna.

Logistics, Deadlines, Time and Places

The class runs from Wednesday, May 23 to Saturday June 23, 2011. Students need to arrive in Freiburg on Tuesday, May 22 to get settled and ready for classes, which begin on Monday, May 28. Classes will be held Monday through Thursday for about six hours each day. On the long weekends, students will have some scheduled excursions as well as free time to explore Europe. Austin classes end on Tuesday, May 15, leaving students a week to visit family or travel in Europe before arriving in Freiburg. With the four-week schedule, students will still have time to work at a summer job upon their return.

On-going Deadlines for Study Abroad Programs

The deadline for applying for the Freiburg, Germany Maymester is November 1, 2011.

August 24
IEFS scholarship opens for spring abroad students
October 1
IEFS deadline for spring abroad students
Late October to Early November
SAO registers all applicants for SAB 300 or SAB 400 and accompanying seminar, if applicable
November 1
Maymester Application Deadline
End of November
Students notified of acceptance
December 10
$300 non-refundable deposit posts
Mid to Late January
Add/drop for spring semester
January 17
Spring classes begin; Maymester Seminars (if applicable) begin
February 1
Twelfth class day
Shortly after the 12th class day
Maymester Financial-Aid releases
February 20
Maymester balance due
Financial Responsibility Schedule Begins
Mid to late May
Maymesters depart

Costs and Funding your Study Abroad Experience

The Freiburg Study Abroad Maymester is $2,750. This includes lodging, tuition and the cost of weekend excursions that are part of the classroom curriculum, such as a trip to CERN to see the Large Hadron Collider, a tour of the Northup Grumman Guidance System (headquartered in Freiburg) and the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut, EMI. It does not include airfare or food.

Scholarships and student loans can be arranged to help fund study abroad participation. Please read the Study Abroad web site carefully. It explains several ways students may obtain funding. Students applying for financial aid will need to fill out an online FAFSA application. Advisors in the Study Abroad office at The Cockrell School of Engineering will assist students with the application process.

Additional Questions?

Parents and students with additional questions should feel free to contact Mr. Billy Wood at (512) 554-3484 or bwood@mail.utexas.edu regarding the trip and class.


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