STEM student goes abroad

On Sunday, Bryan Zilka leaves for South Korea.

Zilka, a junior mechanical engineering major, will be working six days a week as an intern for MPS Korea Co., Ltd., a Korea-based motor company that produces golf carts and other motorized carriers.

He’ll be the company’s first non-Korean employee.

Zilka said he is excited to apply what he’s learned as a student in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Youngstown State University.

“In school, I learned about how engines work and the concept of mechanical engineering,” he said. “Now, I can finally see and work with the machines and experience the hands-on work.”

Zilka applied for the position through his college’s internship program. He said he received several interview offers from various companies.

Sherri Hrusovski, coordinator of STEM Student Professional Services, said students participating in the internship program benefit from real-world work experience and develop job opportunities.

Hrusovski added that students who have completed internships have a greater chance of being employed and earning more after graduation.

“It helps build my resume and potential employment in the future,” Zilka said of his internship. “I hope working in South Korea can guide me to a clear future.”

Zilka met the Korean company’s director earlier this month during the YSU Sustainable Energy Forum — and said he quickly realized the challenges of overcoming the language barrier.

In preparation for his trip, Zilka has been learning basic Korean through a phrase book, and added that he hopes to pick up on the language soon.

“To be honest with you, I am still trying to prepare as much as I can for this trip,” he said.

Zilka said he is both nervous and excited about his first time traveling abroad. It’ll be different to meet new people, as well as experience the culture and language, he said.

“I am trying not to have any expectation of the culture in the new country,” Zilka said.

“I don’t want to be disappointed by the expectations I have.”

Zilka said he hopes this experience will influence his friends.

“Working abroad is a great chance, and I don’t want to pass it up. It is always a new experience to try something new,” he said.