Nine Pittsburg State University students went on a study abroad trip to Germany. These nine students were plastics engineering technology students and went on the trip to the K Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany.
“The initial purpose was to go to the K Show, it’s a show that happens every three years and it is a trade show, the world’s largest trade show for plastics and rubber, the primary purpose was to attend that but also to get a global experience of Germany and a lot of plastic companies are located in Europe and particularly in Germany,” said Rebeca Book, associate professor in plastics engineering and technology.
The K Trade Fair is the world’s largest plastic and rubber trade show. It was held in Dusseldorf, and the students stayed in Cologne for the trip, which was anywhere from a thirty minute to an hour train commute to the fair.
“Originally, I was thinking kind of you know, the whole experience of I had no idea when I was going to go to Germany ever again or if I even wanted to so I thought that this would be a really good opportunity to go with a group and it would probably be the least expensive time, so I figured it was a good opportunity to go see Germany and to also go to the plastics expo,” said Kylie Declue, senior in plastics engineering.
They left on Oct. 13 and stayed until Oct. 19. The nine students were accompanied by Book and her husband who is a former faculty member at PSU.
“The trip benefited me in two ways, firstly, it gave me a much larger scope on the plastics industry and potential career paths that I would be interested in pursuing. It also helped me with my networking skills and building new relationships..,” said Carson Butz, senior in plastics engineering and technology. “It also gave me a broader view of different culture and really increased my interest in travel. It seemed to me that everyone I met was the same as me, but all very unique in their own way. It really helped me to connect on a more global scale and I’d love to travel and visit other countries with different and diverse cultures so I can experience how they are ‘the same’ in their unique way.”
The trade fair had 230,000 people in attendance and spanned across 17 buildings.
“It was a very large exhibition, I think most of the buildings were dedicated to like machinery and equipment and there were some buildings for materials and some buildings for more tooling and off auxiliary type equipment,” Declue said.
It took them two days to cover the entire trade show with how large it was and how many people were in attendance.
“I’m in love with what I do being a plastics engineer and seeing how the trip was to the largest plastics trade show in the world I just couldn’t let the opportunity pass,” said Butz.
The students got the chance to tour the Cologne Cathedral, including walking the 530 feet to the top, touring the Rhine river, toured the Museum Ludwig. They also toured the Lindt chocolate museum on their final day before returning.
“It was really nice because we showed up a couple days before the K Show started so we got to do a lot of sightseeing and kind of the more touristy stuff..,” Declue said. “…My favorite was the Cologne Cathedral and we actually got to go in there and we had a private tour where we had a guide kind of telling us about all the different artworks and how old all the things were in there. They started building it in the 1200s and it took 600 plus years to build so there was a lot of rich history in that.”
Book hopes to continue having the study abroad trip for the K Show if enough students are interested in the future.