Four young men from the University of Cincinnati — three from the College of Engineering and one from the College of Business — spent their summer co-oping in Germany. They took time from their busy schedules to watch the Tour de France and cheer for a fellow American.
Tim Hewitt, Joe Danyluk, Jim Kostura and Bob Wyler have had an experience of a lifetime while working as co-ops in Europe. All four will be returning to UC this quarter and hope to graduate next spring.
|Bob Wyler at the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, which is near the Austrian border.|
“I think I have been to the movie theater 15 times now. All of the movies, except for one, have been in English,” says Tim Hewitt. “I get enough German throughout the week, and the movie gives me a chance to escape to English! "
So how did they end up with Lance in France? If you ask them, it sounds almost as easy as deciding to go to Kentucky for hamburgers.
“Jim had suggested that we go,” says Tim. “He found out that Bob lived in a town that the Tour was going to pass through. So, I said ‘Why not!’ We got ahold of other friend, Joe, and we all headed out to Bob’s town, called Bühl (pronounced almost like “bool”).”
“Every year the tour has a stage that goes through the Black Forest in Germany, and for a long time it has been going right through Bob’s town,” says the “instigator” Jim. “It worked out great because the stage was on a Saturday, so Tim, Joey and I decided to spend the weekend at Bob’s and cheer on Lance.”
“After hearing them talk about it, I decided that I also wanted to go,” says Joe. “Robert (Wyler) lives in Bühl, which is on the French-German border and is a city through which the Tour was passing. It was a great opportunity to see another part of Germany and, as Americans, to support Lance Armstrong in his last Tour.”
|And all is so clean here!|
The Badisches-Tagblatt says across the top, "US Boys and Chinese cross their fingers" or literally, "press the thumb."
“We went to the Tour on Saturday, rooted for Lance and the rest of the American team, and then had a grill out with some South Africans we met at the race,” Tim sums up. “All in all, it was the best sporting event I have ever been to.”
“The picture was taken along the route of the Tour in the main square of the town where I work, Bühl,” says Bob Wyler. “This is in the Black Forest, right on the border between Germany and France. The people in the picture, from left to right, are Joseph Danyluk, Denis Nogueiro Piniero (my roommate, an apprentice from LuK Brasil, who only speaks Portugese and a little German — we have our own language of grunts, hand gestures, and composite words that no one understands but us), Timothy Hewitt, Robert Wyler, Jim Kostura and John Miller, an apprentice from LuK USA and a good friend.”
|Tim Hewitt in Pisa, Italy.|
“Being in another country makes things interesting,” says Tim. “It is always difficult adjusting to a new job, but often times you have some feeling of security. However, working in Germany has proved different. Not only did I have to get used to a new work environment, but I also had to get used to a new social and cultural environment as well. At times, it has been very frustrating, but as I look back, it really has been a great experience, and I am so thankful I was given this opportunity.”
|Joe Danyluk thinks more students should take on the challenge of international co-op.|
“My first four co-op terms in the States were with Bayer Becker in Mason, Ohio,” Joe explains. “It was a great opportunity to combine classroom instruction with practical training, as I learned many facets of site planning, surveying, landscape architecture and civil design. My last two terms are with IPRO, an engineering/architectural/ planning firm in Leipzig, Germany. I have worked with engineers on the structural design of industrial complexes and with architects on three-dimensional renderings for project submissions.”
Unlike the others, Jim Kostura is in the College of Business. He hopes to earn his Bachelors of Business Administration in operations management with minors in both international business and German. He says his co-op experience been has been “very good so far.”
“I really enjoy working abroad. It offers new challenges and was a great opportunity to travel and experience another culture and work environment,” he adds.
Bob Wyler is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in German studies. He hopes to graduate with University Honors in June. He says his co-op experience has been fantastic.
“I consider myself truly lucky to have the chance to have this experience. My job is going very well, and I feel that my skills in engineering and the German language have been improved quite a bit,” says Wyler. He is glad that he chose to co-op outside the United States and would recommend it to others. “I know that this experience has changed me for the better.”
|The group in Edinburgh, Scotland.|
Joe Danyluk agrees.
“My decision to co-op in another country was the best decision I have made in my academic career,” he says. “Living in Germany for six months and being part of the everyday workforce was a unique challenge, as I learned how engineering planning and design differ in Europe. Most importantly, there were opportunities for improving language skills, meeting new friends, traveling, and experiencing all the aspects of my host culture. At times the language barrier was difficult, but it gave me an incredible perspective on how to effectively communicate with people.”
“I highly recommend this to other students,” Joe adds. “Specifically those who are interested in removing themselves from the environment they are used to, and being forced to adjust in a foreign and unfamiliar culture. The most valuable lesson I took from this experience was how to constantly adapt to new people, new surroundings and new situations.”
All four are the first of their families to choose the University of Cincinnati. Most chose UC because of co-op. Joe Danyluk came to UC because of the co-op program, the reputation of the College of Engineering and the university’s location in a larger city. Bob Wyler also selected UC because of its location (in a city in Ohio). He also cites scholarship awards and his very positive impressions from high school visitations compared to other colleges.
“I needed a way to pay for school and the co-op program provided me with that opportunity,” says Tim Hewitt. “And just as important as the money, it gave me much needed experience in the work place.”
“I liked the idea of being able to graduate already having one to two years of working experience,” Jim Kostura says, noting that co-op was a major reason for choosing UC. “It was also far enough away from home (Columbus) and offered the best financial package.”
When not gallivanting about Europe, the four are also active at home.
|Tim Hewitt at Lake Como, Italy.|
“I enjoy customizing cars, offroading with my modified truck, performing the subsequent repairs and modifications that usually result and participating in the UC Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) automotive competition,” says Bob Wyler. Jim Kostura is an active in the member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and is a member of the Student Alumni Council, Omicron Delta Kappa and the Order of Omega.
Their transition from German life to life in Cincinnati will be eased somewhat. Joe Danyluk flew back on Sept. 10.
“I’ll be back in Cincinnati just in time for Oktoberfest on the 17th,” he says.
So what does the future hold for these four bright, well-travelled Americans? Tim Hewitt will be an officer in the U.S. Air Force and hopes to attend pilot school. Kostura and Danyluk are both thinking of graduate school.
“I want to pursue my Masters Degree in Structural engineering,” Joe says. “I would like to use this international experience for some research projects, then ideally, work for an American/German engineering or architectural firm. My ultimate goal is becoming a bridge designer.”
Bob Wyler intends to find a job in the engineering sector, most likely with the U.S. branch of the company he currently works for, LuK.
“I worked at LuK before travelling here, and they have paid all of my expenses in getting here and staying here. They've even given me a company car,” he says. “I have nothing but good things to say about the company, both here and in the US, and they have all but offered me a job already. After I have enough experience and capital, I eventually want to start my own company that designs, tests, manufactures and sells aftermarket components for the automotive industry (offroad accessories for example). I have already spoken with several UC classmates about this plan and we intend to start some sort of business within the next year, working together on nights and weekends.”
Tim Hewitt enthusiastically endorses international co-op: “I thought I was very independent and aware of myself while in school. But now that I have lived abroad for six months, it has taught me to be more independent and has made me much more aware of who I am and what I want to do with my life. It has also made me realize that America is truly the best place to live. America is a great country, and I love being an American!”