Netherlands Study Abroad

Year: 2015

Countries Visited: Netherlands, Germany, Belgium

Professor: Dr. Dan Ames

Participating Majors: Civil & Environmental Engineering and Geology

Number of Students: 9


The purpose of the program is to help students learn about water management in Europe, specifically in the Netherlands, where over a quarter of the country is below sea level. Students were given opportunity to individually study historic to more recent water management projects, such as 200 year-old windmills that pump water out of farm land or giant dams keeping the sea from encroaching into rivers during storms, and were able to go and visit them when they were in the Netherlands. This year the students were broken into two teams that researched Room For the River projects and designed, analyzed, and reported on solutions. These sites were also visited and toured during the study abroad. Additionally, time was spent collaborating and learning at four universities and one water research institute.

Leadership Development

Students involved in this study abroad had different areas of interest and were also at different levels of education. As they learned to work together they developed abilities that they will benefit them as they work in teams in the future. Also, each student was given an opportunity to be in charge of a part of their team project, and had to determine the best way to share their findings and help others understand their work.

Global Agility

Four universities in the Netherlands were visited and students also met with students and professors from a university in Belgium. During these visits, students in the Netherlands had the opportunity to share about water management in the Netherlands and BYU students shared about water management in the western United States. Also, while traveling and visiting all of the project sites, students had the occasion to experience Dutch culture, learn Dutch history, and see a beautiful country. What stands out to the students was the wonderful interaction with the people they met and the importance of getting to know and trying to help others.

Technical Experience

Students not only had the opportunity work together in designing and analyzing a solution for a Room For the River project, but they also got to learn from leaders in water modeling research and see world-renowned modeling facilities. Students visited Deltares, which is a water research institute in the Netherlands where they were able to see and learn about new modeling tools as well as visit their research area with numerous scale water models. Students also performed individual research projects on water management projects and shared their knowledge with each other before leaving the country and while visiting the site of the projects.

Pictures and quotes from participating students can be see here.