Auburn Family

Summer 2017: The Life of an Auburn Engineering Student in India

Before entering his senior year, Ryan Sargent took on an internship in a culture many have never seen. As a part of coursework at Auburn, most students are required to complete an internship. As a civil engineering major, Sargent knew that coming in. His first few years at Auburn he began looking at the internship that would best fit him. While in his search, Sargent found the company for him; a company that used engineering as a mission field.

After completing his junior year, Sargent left for Delhi, India to begin working for the organization he had in the back of his mind since freshman year.

“Seeing different cultures is something I’ve gotten to do a little bit of here at Auburn,” said Sargent. “I wanted to translate that to my everyday life. John 14:6 says
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and I wanted to move to a place where I could tell people about him.”

After a 14-hour trip across the country, Sargent landed in his temporary home. As he walked out of the airport, he described the feeling as intense.

“So I got off the plane and walked outside and its night time, it’s midnight, and it’s about 39 degrees Celsius which is 98 degrees Fahrenheit. There are about 150-200 people standing around the doors at the airport. I was just following my friend blindly. It’s loud, there are strong smells, and people are just everywhere. All of my senses were heightened to a place they had never been before.”

Sargent had no lack of learning experiences while in Delhi, whether that is through his faith or by his engineering skills. The first three weeks Sargent was working on auto-cad drawings, checking site locations for rainwater, sewage water and also writing up reports that eventually were being turned into the client. His job was to work on a team of civil engineers and architects on the surveying of locations to build a school. After just a few weeks at work, he was given opportunities that most interns wouldn’t see.

When asked how Auburn prepared him for the trip, Sargent referred back to the courses he had taken. He mentioned Auburn taught him about hard work in a lot of classes. He got to use a lot of information from geotechnical class and structures class on the job site.

“One big thing was I learned at Auburn was to write really well. You’re constantly writing reports for labs and they seem meaningless, but when you go to the job market you realize that you’re writing reports daily. You’re sitting there as an engineer and you want to do these math problems but a lot of times its already been done so you have to describe what you’re talking about.”

Auburn not only prepared him for the workplace but also gave him opportunities to learn how to adapt to different cultures before he moved to Delhi. Sargent mentioned he has friends that have shown him how to engage with people from different cultures. He has gotten to engage in diversity through different organizations like international buddy program and being in classes with foreign exchange students.

“I have always welcomed people into my home and I got to translate that to learning how to talk to people who English isn’t their first language. The more I got to learn about their culture, the more I could show them tangibly who Jesus is in a way that they would understand.”

Through the foundations of Auburn, Ryan Sargent was able to take on, and successfully complete the internship of a lifetime.

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