Averie Yang-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

Averie Yang

"Go abroad... so you put yourself out there and meet new people.  Be open-minded and willing to try different things and talk to different people."

Meet Averie Yang...

Averie grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and came to Carnegie Mellon to study Industrial Design.  In the fall of 2008, Averie had a life-changing experience when she studied abroad at the Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Before She Went

Before Averie went abroad, she wasn't quite sure what to expect.  She felt that things would be different and so she tried to be open-minded to whatever was going to happen. 

Arrival to Eindhoven

Averie's first impression of Eindhoven was that it was a very industrial city.  She kept in mind that it was rebuilt quickly after World War II.  At first, it was a bit scary to settle into her new surrounding and adjust to life abroad.  This was her first time going somewhere by herself without knowing anyone. Averie also knew very little about Eindhoven and there was so much that she needed to learn quickly!  Through her learning process, she has gained incredible self-confidence and knows that she can handle herself in future unfamiliar situations.

When Averie arrived at the university, she was very impressed with the exchange.  Studying at Eindhoven gave her the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the university in contrast to her experience at Carnegie Mellon.  Averie also gained a new perspective of the field Industrial Design that will be helpful in her future studies and work.

Living in Eindhoven

Adapting to the lifestyle was simple for Averie because she became socially involved with a network of friends.  She learned a lot about Industrial Design with these friends.  Though English is fairly common in the Netherlands, it was a bit difficult for Averie to adjust to the commonly spoken Dutch language.

One thing that Averie leaned from living in the Netherlands was how American she really was.  For example, she said, "Our small size coffee in the US is their large.  And no one really drinks the large, large size.  And it made me think, ‘What if the way things are  in the Netherlands isn't strange but rather the way things are done in America is strange?'"

Averie also observed are that many people rode bicycles and were very fit and in shape, no matter what age they were.  She reported that, "Dutch people are really straight forward and honest and to Americans, they may seem rather blunt."  She quickly added that the Dutch are very friendly.

As an international student, Averie found learning about different cultures in Eindhoven very rewarding.  She said it was fascinating to learn how people from other cultures think differently. Studying abroad has really opened her up to learning about different people and understanding new cultural perspectives.

Some of the activities that Averie participated in were Dutch Design Week, which gave her a better understanding of Industrial Design.  She also learned more about fencing, kick boxing, and kayaking at the Sports Center that she attended. 

When thinking about styles or trends that she acquired, Averie says, "Since going abroad, I feel like I put more effort in how I present myself.  And it's interesting because I met an international student from Denmark and she was saying how she'd never wear jeans to class but usually always dressed business casual.  She said their way of thinking is that you have to dress smart to be smart."  This greatly impressed Averie and she tries to keep it in mind now that she is back in the U.S.

Averie identified her travel experience in Rome, Italy as a high point of her time abroad.  She reports how amazing it was to see places in the world that have existed for so long.  In Florence it was almost like going back in time. 

Looking Back on Her Experience...

 "I'm more open-minded since I got back... I don't take old buildings for granted anymore..."  However, Averie misses being immersed in a different culture and being with many international students.  She realizes now that being abroad gave her the opportunity to increase her sense of purpose and time.  She learned how to do new things while being abroad simply because there seemed to be more time.  With this, she said, "[In the US] I feel like everyone's so busy working all of the time.  You forget to spend time with those who are important to you.  When I was abroad, I learned the importance of that and I'm trying to do that here."

Averie believes that studying abroad has encouraged her to be a more open-minded and well-rounded individual.  She feels that studying abroad will contribute to her work in Industrial Design, as she learned so much about the field at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Averie Yang

Averie Yang
Industrial Design & HCI
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Fall 2008