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EE494 Ruiyu Sun

General Education Reflection

During the first three years in Iowa State University, I took three general education courses
from three different majors. These classes bring me to new fields, let me discover more
interesting things other than engineering. Although they don’t include what I will use in exams,
they help me to learn and understand my major from various aspects. Courses I took are mostly
about culture, which is a fairly important point for an international student. By understanding
concepts included in these classes, I can balance myself in different environments easier.

SOC 235 is the most inspiration one to me. It is called ​Social Problems and American Values​. I
took it in sophomore year. After one year studying in America, I saw so many differences from
my own culture. From ways of thinking to customs, new concepts are impacting me. This course
talks much about American culture and values, and how they form American society. Rather
than knowing specific problems, it helps me understand the thought angle that people in this
culture will take. Hence, I know how to comfort others and myself, avoid unnecessary
embarrassment and helps me solve many confusions. Beside knowing people, the course
discusses a lot social problems that American society is facing currently, which helps me know
about the environment I live in. In engineering classes, there are also many concepts connect
engineers and American society, and the education method follows the exceptions of engineers
from American society. Therefore, I’m able to accommodate curriculum setting better as well.

CHIN 403A is the first general education I took. This course is​ Translating Contemporary Chinese
Text. ​It seems weird that I took a course of my own language, but it is very helpful for me as a
new international student studying here. At the time that I’m not used to using English, I always
first come up every thought in Chinese then translate to English. Actually, until now, sometimes
I still need to do this translation in my mind for complex sentences or some explanations. To
express myself clearly without any misunderstanding, do good translation is a very important
step. Accurate and effective communication is always a requirement to engineers. For
teamwork, technical writings or introduce self work, under many conditions, the language
EE494 Ruiyu Sun

usage is quite important. This course doesn’t only help me at the beginning of my study, but all
the time until now, and will still be helpful in the future.

RUS 370 is the most recent one I finished. It is​ Russian Studies in English Translation.​ For me,
this course is like a history course about Russian literature. After taking this course, I think that
the evolution of Russian literature is very representative. During different periods, under
different parties’ controls, the genres, themes and taboos of literature are varying. The changes
of literature reflect society situation, people’s lives and willes. In literature productions, many
tools or machines are described, which actually insinuate people’s hoping of technical
development. For example, fiction especially preferred time machines, wars related stories
create robots or high-tech arms. Those are hopings sustenance to the engineers. All the course
of Russian literature happens in every country over the world. Those creative thoughts and
expectations are factors that push technique develops.

Most of general education courses are not related to engineering study, but they less or more
help students in studying from different angles. Nowadays, there are still few stereotypes about
engineers. Education to future engineers is a prime way that break those frames that defined
engineers. We learn so much different things and find they can all connect to engineering, vice
versa engineering is linked to every aspect of our life. When we are learning, nothing is general
or professional. Everything accomplished engineers.