Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Information Session on Transportation Applications in the Netherlands - March 5, 5 PM - Study Abroad this Summer in Delft!

We'll be hosting an information sharing session on the program, next Monday, March 5th at 5 to 6 PM. The purpose of the meeting is to describe the details of the course. In order to do this we'll start off with a brief presentation by your instructors followed by a short summary of actual students who attended the course and lived to tell about it. Kirk Paulsen and Brian Davis will share their experiences of spending time in Amsterdam, while based in Delft all the while touring the nearby suburbs of Delft and communities (such as Rotterdam) that present an introduction to the multimodal transportation applications in the Netherlands.

A few questions I have received:
1. Do I have to be an engineer to participate?
Absolutely not. While the 7 students that participated last year were, their knowledge of thermodynamics and structural analysis did not provide them keener insights on the transportation elements common in Dutch communities. Working in teams as we did last year, any engineering skills you might need will be part of your group projects. 

2.  The course mentions efforts in Portland after the in country period, is that flexible?
Yes. The number of credits dictates the extent of the effort required for class projects. Last year, some of the students chose to finish the project before they left for the U.S. Others wanted more time to edit their class projects 
Here's a sample of some of the work that was completed. Brian's post summarizing his experience in "Bike Heaven" the community of Houten. The post actually was commented on by our host in Houten, community engineer Herbert Tiemens. Here's Kirk Paulsen's group's final project analyzing Houten as a community. 

3. Is financial aid available for this? 
Yes.  Financial aid is available for the program. The course costs are fairly reasonable compared to typical tuition and by taking the 6 credit option or an additional summer class you can easily be full time. Depending on your situation, I would encourage looking into this. The course doesn't have the overhead that normal classes do and the University wants the exposure for its students. The costs of housing are part of the program and staying in a dorm is an inexpensive place to stay relatively speaking. We complete all of our travel via bicycle and short train trips, so the biggest cost is the airfare.

4. Do I need to speak Dutch to take part in the trip?
No. I have been to the Netherlands five times and I don't speak a word of the language. 

5. Is it true that they don't have stop signs anywhere in the country?
No, I found three stop signs during my extensive travels, but it does take a couple of minutes to get used to. 

6. How do you deal with Post Travel and Carfree Bliss Disorder? 
I think Brian Davis covered this best in his blog post here, but Sunday Parkways is a good place to start.

7. Is this all about bikes?
No, but bicycles are a part of the Dutch culture and with a 30+% mode split for people travelling by bike, it is hard to avoid. Freight and transit will be part of the program as well and there's interest in having a conversation with the Utrecht Traffic Engineer Ronald Tamse who visited Portland and presented at PSU this past October. We define group project subjects that fit into the curriculum. Here's the final report that was a joint effort of Northeastern University and Portland State participants from last year. 

The session will be in the Engineering Building in the ITS Lab which is in Room 315. 
If you have any questions, feel free to send Dr. Bertini or I an email at your convenience. Looking forward to seeing some of you on Monday. 

The second annual summer course on multimodal transportation in the Netherlands:


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