Global Impact for your Institution: International Experiential Education for Technical Students

Global Impact for your Institution: International Experiential Education for Technical Students

Thomas M. Akins (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA) and Debbie D. Gulick (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-547-6.ch006
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This chapter describes Georgia Institute of Technology’s (Georgia Tech) model for producing globally competent engineers. It details two aspects that Georgia Tech thinks are vital to its success: (1) the need for institutional support and resources and (2) making international experiential education a part of an institution’s culture.
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Work Abroad Program Details

The Work Abroad Program consists of undergraduate and graduate students within any field of study. Georgia Tech has Colleges of Engineering, Sciences, Architecture, Management, Computing, and Liberal Arts. Approximately 60% of undergraduate students are working toward a degree in engineering. The College of Engineering consists of the schools of: aerospace, biomedical, chemical and biomolecular, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, industrial and systems, materials science and engineering, mechanical, and polymer, textile and fiber engineering.

Typically Georgia Tech students work for one semester. All of the Work Abroad opportunities are full-time internships or co-op jobs outside the United States. The majority of the internships are paid. Students can work during the fall, spring, and/or summer semester. Georgia Tech students are rarely given academic credit as internship credit is not helpful to an engineering curriculum. One service that Georgia Tech gives to its students is enrolling them in a full-time audit course while they are working abroad. This service has numerous benefits. This class allows them to maintain full-time status; it is tuition-free, and non-credit bearing for the student. The class appears on the student’s transcript as “International Internship.” This is also good for university personnel to be able to see what the student is doing and why they are not enrolled in classes for a semester. This is a unique ability that Georgia Tech has due to its long-standing co-op program. It helps increase international experiential learning opportunities to students because they do not have to pay tuition (cost savings for the student). In addition, it assists in obtaining work permits and visas as it illustrates that the student is not trying to emigrate to the country but simply taking part in an internship as part of his/her studies. This is also a good way to track students who are going abroad.

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