You are here
My name is Paige Hendersen and it’s my second year here at Northeastern in the College of Engineering. After leaving my hometown in Wisconsin, I started off my college experience quite untraditionally by studying abroad in Greece through the NUin program. Coming back to campus, I was ready to declare my major in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Art and Design too. Though these may not seem to be a likely pair, as you get to know me through my experiences you’ll see that they really do lend a hand to one another. Additionally, I am very involved on campus through clubs including SWE, ASME and Circle K where I strive to make a positive impact volunteering in the community. My interests include traveling, studio art, astronomy, and product development, and I’m grateful to have pursued quite a bit of each one of these things going to a university with endless opportunities. For now, I’ll choose to elaborate on my study abroad experience and the effect that it had on my education and self-growth.
I had never imagined I would start college in a different country, especially one where I couldn’t speak a word of the language. But when I was accepted into this unique program, I knew there was no way I could pass up an opportunity like it. Venturing to Thessaloniki, Greece in September 2013 brought much excitement. I was soon meeting lifelong friends that would stick by my side through my years at Northeastern, receiving a high quality of education from worldly and personable professors, and getting to give back to my new community through service learning programs at local elementary schools. All of the while, I was solidifying what exactly I wanted to pursue in my engineering studies.
Starting the college of engineering’s curriculum as a freshman abroad was very helpful because I could see which applications in engineering I loved and was passionate about, and which ones I wasn’t drawn towards as much. By speaking with staff members and working hands-on in my classes, I was able to see that mechanical engineering was the route for me, because I’ve always believed that it can incorporate my artistic background. I found that in fields such as product development, a creative flare helps with inventing new ideas and turning concepts into physical designs. Also, to me aesthetics holds just as much importance as the function and technical details. By developing these close relationships with peers and professors I was encouraged to use what was unique about my personality, and that support was comforting from the NUin program even into a bigger setting at Northeastern.
Outside of the classroom is where a ton of learning went on too. We were given opportunities to travel internationally, so I was able to take weekend trips in Istanbul, London, Berlin, Santorini, and Athens with the entire group or a few friends. Finding my way around, communicating despite language barriers, and taking the initiative to capture each moment abroad really allowed for me to mature as a young adult. While performing my service learning in Thessaloniki, there was a language barrier as well. We had to be quite innovative to teach reading comprehension through ways of art, acting, and group work rather then just lecturing young children. It really paid off for me personally as I was able to teach the kids great English and see their progress and positive attitude towards learning each week.
Overall, I was thankful to have an educational and fun experience to start off my engineering career as a student at Northeastern. I was able to take back hard skills I learned in small classroom sizes at the American College of Thessaloniki, experiences of travel that allowed me to gain independence, and ways of giving back to those around me in a very new community. The NUin program lended itself greatly to my personality of being very creative, innovative, and self-motivated. I was able to take these skills to a new environment filled with a lot more freshmen I was ready to meet and share my stories with. Though the campus and student body is a bit bigger now, I still feel I can make that personal impact I felt during my study abroad experience within the College of Engineering, clubs I am involved with, and the community as a whole