Eric Rawdon’s engi­neering co-​​op expe­ri­ence with a water utility in Scot­land appar­ently did little to improve his lim­ited skills in soccer, but it paid off in just about every other way.

It was the best working expe­ri­ence I ever had,” said the civil engi­neering major, who will enter his senior year in Sep­tember. “The work was fan­tastic and the people were so good-​​natured and fun to work with.”

The Worcester, Mass­a­chu­setts, native worked for Scot­tish Water, in Liv­ingston, Scot­land, from June to December 2008. He lived in Edin­burgh and tried to immerse him­self in the cul­ture, which included a com­mit­ment to join the com­pany soccer team. “I was awful, but they wel­comed me in,” he said.

Oth­er­wise, the expe­ri­ence was out­standing, Rawdon said. He sharp­ened his engi­neering ana­lyt­ical skills, gained hands-​​on work expe­ri­ence in his field, devel­oped a broader world sense, and increased his net­work of pro­fes­sional contacts.

Working in pro­gram man­age­ment for the com­pany, Rawdon oversaw the finan­cial data and sched­ules of more than 120 projects, most involving the repair of water pipes and water storage areas.

He also served as the man­ager of two small projects to retrofit fil­ters on pipes dis­charging into the ocean.

Working and living in a new country also forced Rawdon out of his Bay State com­fort zone, as much a ben­efit, he said, as the engi­neering knowl­edge he gained. “Just doing every­thing on my own, instead of having it done for me, made it a more rewarding experience.”

Rawdon also forged a strong rela­tion­ship with one of his super­vi­sors, an American.

That con­tact led him to his cur­rent co-​​op posi­tion, in the Boston office of Mont­gomery Watson Harza, a Colorado-​​based inter­na­tional engi­neering and con­sulting firm spe­cial­izing in sewer and water sys­tems and waste­water treatment.

My boss was great. And I’ll always remember my Scot­land co-​​op as one of the best things I ever did,” Rawdon said. “I learned so much—about myself and what I’m capable of achieving.”