Miners in the jungle


Rachel Kautz and Shane Myers ride an elephant in Malaysia. Photos submitted

During the spring semester, three Missouri S&T students lived with monkeys, rode elephants and caught barracuda.

Rachel Kautz, Michael Ortmann and Shane Myers — all of them petroleum engineering majors at S&T — studied in Malaysia as part of an exchange program with University Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP). While several groups of UTP students have studied at S&T, this was the first semester a group from Rolla visitedMalaysia as part of the exchange.


Rachel Kautz (far left), Michael Ortmann (light orange shirt, left of groom) and Shane Myers (bright orange shirt, second from the right) at a traditional Malay family wedding.


A tropical environment, Malaysia has three distinct cultures: Malay, Indian and Chinese. On one outing, a trip coordinator invited the S&T students to a traditional Malay family wedding in the jungle. On another adventure,

Kautz and Myers got to ride an elephant. And on Kautz’s 21st birthday, the crew went fishing for barracuda.

Meanwhile, monkeys were fond of raiding student housing to pilfer food from refrigerators. “The maintenance man had to chase them out with a big stick!” says Ortmann.


Rachel Kautz shows off a barracuda she caught during her birthday outing.


According to Ortmann, the academic environment, along with most other things, was very different in Malaysia — though courses were taught in English. He says classes were laid back and teachers encouraged them to learn a lot on their own.

The ongoing exchange is open to students in civil engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, geology and geophysics, mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering. For more information, contact Dr. Shari Dunn-Norman.

By Lance Feyh

Learn more about Study Abroad at Missouri S&T.


  1. a very interesting experience. I love it..