I first started thinking about studying abroad when I was a junior in high school. I thought that without trying, one can’t accomplish anything. Now I’m very grateful that I tried. I consider myself lucky for getting a chance to study in America, specifically at Yale University.
At US universities, sport is played on three levels: varsity (competitive), club (local) and intramural (recreational). One can join the varsity teams even after enrollment (i.e. walk-on), but my abilities probably were not good enough. So I spent four years swimming with Yale Swimming Club. We had workouts three times a week and races about four times per semester. Within the intramural sports league, I tried almost all of the sports that were offered: volleyball, basketball, water polo, ice hockey, soccer, cross-country, swimming, frisbee, and more. Yale has a lot of sports, and I’m glad I was able to try many of them this way.
Outside of the mechanical engineering curriculum and sports I had time to spend on extracurricular activities as well. Out of those, I would like to mention Yale Aerospace, a student-run organization focused on aerospace projects such as balloons, rockets and drones. Within this organization, I have not only acquired programming, electronics, design, fabrication and construction skills, but I’ve also learned how to lead a team, how to ask for money or how to present a project to potential investors.
I’ve graduated from Yale in Spring 2014 and later enrolled at Stanford as a Master’s student of Aeronautics & Astronautics. The experience that I have gained in America helped me open the door to a summer internship at the European Space Agency in 2015. I am now a Spacecraft Operations Engineer at European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany.
Currently Jan is the COO and co-founder of the German start-up SuperVision Earth, a company that monitors environmental impact of gas pipelines.
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