Posts Tagged ‘co-op


日本のインターン (Coop at Japan)

IMG_4339When I was applying for UC, 4 years ago, I read a brochure about the International Coop Program, and since then I knew I was down for it. The first year I registered with other 20 freshman in the German Program. I liked the idea of doing an internship for Airbus or the European Space Program, while backpacking around Europe during holidays. I even took German classes during summer of freshman year. After a couple of years, I got more interested in Asian cultures, and learning the astronomically difficult Japanese language became a challenge. I switched into the Japanese program right before the language classes began. There were about 10 students registered. The International Coop Program is very well structured at the University, so that it that doesn’t interfere with the curriculum. We had one class about “living abroad” during our second year, a six-week intensive language course during our third year, and at the begging of four year we started the job hunting, which is coordinated with the professional practice department at UC. Then, we had two weeks of intensive language in Japan before starting coop. The entire program is already well set. In my case I got my first choice, working for IHI in Tokyo, doing CFD for aircraft engines.

IMG_0923 I always thought that living in a different country, working together with its people and learning their language is the real way to understand and enjoy their culture. People are extremely polite and kind. Since I came, I haven’t seen a person fighting or scream to another. Everyone is very concern about the welfare of the society. If feels like they take care of each other. Recycling, not wasting food and saving electric energy is not only a general concern, but absolutely everyone practices it. Everyday I get more amazed about their personality. Working for a Japanese company is also another story. It’s more about harmony. Everyone in the company, starting from the president, wears the same uniform, eats the same lunch, does the same exercise routine in the morning. It really feels like belonging to a family more than a company. Every week they keep inviting me to go out to an Izacaya, Japanese bar/restaurant, go out fishing, or any other activity that would bring me more together with my working team.

DSC_0043 I just had a one week holiday. My brother came to visit and we went to Kyoto and Nara, the ancient capitals of Japan. Most of the Shinto and Buddhist temples are located in these areas. The landscapes and the cities are breath taken. Kyoto is the only place where the traditional Geishas live. We met with other there friends from UC. Kira, one of our Engineering Ambassadors, is working in Kyoto, home of Nintendo. It was a great trip and managed to make it affordable. Really I’ve only mentioned a few of the amazing things I lived in this country. The food, the language, the rituals, you have to live it to entirely understand its magic. If you want to learn more about the International Coop Program you can visit the website:


Co-op Update and Quad accident

Well after a very cool/cold spring and early summer it looks like things are going to finally warm up out here. I think we’re finally going to be consistently over 75 for awhile. I don’t really care how hot it gets out here, I’m tired of wearing a jacket and long pants in the middle of July. I’m almost to the point of welcoming the Midwest heat and humidity, although 75 and sunny is pretty nice. Since my last post I’ve had some interesting things happen and been accomplishing a few things.

To start off, I “got” to return to my nemesis, Capitol State Forest, to complete the sign inventory project. This time out I got a partner from our survey department and we each got quads to move around and individual GPS devices. So this sounded pretty good at the start and I figured we’d finish the job in the week we were given. Well, Monday went okay and we got a firm base started. Tuesday, well that’s when the Curse of Capitol struck me again and this time it was a bit more painful and personal. We had split up going opposite directions on the trails. This was my first time riding a quad on a trail, I’ve been used to flat land roads on my grandpa’s farm, so things were very stressful for me. Well, I made it down and around the trail, but the road I was going to take out had been washed away so I was forced to backtrack on the trails. Most of the trail wasn’t too bad, but the section where I started that morning was rather steep and I didn’t feel like going “up” it this time so I took a different trail. When I got to about 30 feet of where the trail crossed the road the trail was very narrow and uneven. I was making my way across it until the back wheel slipped and I couldn’t keep it on the trail and I rolled it. I bailed, but in the direction of the quad (damn gravity and momentum!) and hit the ground just as the quad was rolling over me! I was “lucky” enough to have crashed into a downed log which absorbed most of the quad instead of me. The quad rolled a few more times until it rested against a tree upside-down. I got up and did a quick medical check of myself, nothing broke or sticking through the skin, and looked at the damage. Thankfully the tree caught the quad, otherwise it would have kept going down the mountain another 1/4 mile or more. I regrouped myself, informed the necessary individuals and went about getting some help to winch the quad back up. My partner were lucky a road maintenance crew passed us about the same time our DNR contacts made it up. So we got the quad up and looked it over. All told I really only lost about 2 hours of work, not bad considering what had happened. The damage was pretty good to the quad with both front racks getting bent, a headlight broken, and one of the brake handlebars bent. However, there was nothing wrong with the engine or steering so we got right back to inventorying. My partner, Josh, decided he would handle the trails since he was a bit more experienced on trailriding. This fit me fine and I drove the roads the next 3.5 days. Wednesday and Thursday I drove at least a 100 miles each day on forest roads. A lot of the areas I got to see were pretty nice and the weather made it pretty good too. We finished the signs Friday afternoon, and all told I drove about 400 miles in the 5 days, so yeah I was pretty tired. So I finally got to leave Capitol State Forest, although it wanted to kill me this time, but it still hurt me. All told the quad accident left me with some cuts and headache, the quad got about $1,000 worth of damage. But finally, I never have to return to that haunted forest ever again for the DNR.

Well, being back in the office has got me back to doing transportation work. I’ve been working on a few different projects, from roadway layout to repaving projects helping where I can. Its been nice returning to the office, but I rather enjoyed my outside office, when wasn’t trying to kill me. Otherwise things at the office are good, we’ve got our Seattle/Kirkland/Everett Otak Picnic this Saturday, so that will fun and give me something to do on Saturday.

Aside from EWB and EA tasks I’ve been catching up on my reading lately. To say the least I’ve been destroying books lately. My recent finishes have been Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, The Man Who Led the Band of Brothers and last week I read Into Thin Air. I highly recommend Into Thin Air it will keep you on the end of your seat the whole book. I’m kind of into mountaineering books now that I’ve crossed a few books from my to read list. I started No Shortcuts to the Top, Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks this week and hope it lasted longer than a week. So I guess you can see I’m into mountaineering, if you haven’t read my profile, and I’d love to hit the peaks this summer, but lack of a car tends to make things a bit difficult. So I’m suck somewhat to reading about future adventures I plan to take (no Everest or K2 at this time) on my journey of the highest peaks in each of the 50 states. Well, back to relaxing after a long day at work.


Summer Co-op

It is midterm week here at UC which only serves as a reminder of how much I wish I was on co-op. Sure school is fun. I enjoy broadening my horizon and collecting information. However, nothing can compete with the utter bliss of being on co-op. Now maybe co-op is so exciting for me because of the place I work (NASA Johnson Space Center), or maybe its the awesome opportunities I have to meet people who have influenced the history of NASA (thanks to the co-op Lecture series), or maybe it’s the sheer pride I feel working on a team of actual engineers and being treated like an equal. I can’t decide (admit it, they are all pretty good reasons). But I can tell you that working on the Portable Life Support System (PLSS) of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) space suit this summer is gonna be one for the books.

I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to help analyze and possibly redesign a few of the components used to keep astronauts alive and safe during space walks. I will be running tests, collecting data, and offering input on the design. This opportunity to work with other NASA engineers as a peer is going to be great.

Now that I’m cheered up by the thought of co-op, I can return to the harsh reality of life and get back to homework. Countdown to co-op: T – 7 weeks!


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