Globalization is a rapidly increasing trend in many industries, including civil engineering. This paper defines the skills engineers will need in an increasingly international industry. It also describes an engineering study abroad program designed to teach some of those skills to students and presents a survey used as an assessment tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The program, called Mexico Engineering Study Abroad (MESA), is taught at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, UT. MESA is a project-based extended field trip format class that couples hydrologic modeling with cultural awareness as students work together with Mexican students on water resources modeling projects in Mexico. The aforementioned survey shows that MESA affects a positive change in the student development and importance of global engineering skills such as leadership, teamwork, cultural sensitivity, and language. The importance of these skills in the workplace was also measured. The data shows that MESA is effective at developing global engineering skills in students. The data also suggest that other schools could use MESA as a model for their own efforts to prepare students for a more global industry. They show that non-technical skills can be measured and the results used to improve the course and the assessment methods. In particular, the MESA course could be improved by involving more faculty and increasing parity between the BYU and Mexican experiences in the course. The survey can be improved by conducting pre-class and post-class surveys instead of just one post-class survey. A special effort should be made to develop symmetry of experience for Mexican and BYU students, including extending the survey to the Mexican students.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





BYU, MESA, ITESO, UDG, hydrologic modeling, globalization, engineering