LBAT offers real-world experience in foreign languages

Part of Tech’s strategic education plan focuses on providing students with the opportunity to acquire some sort of international experience by the time they graduate. With study abroad programs, exchanges, international internships and more, picking the right program can be a challenge. Does the student want to have fun and travel or learn a language or experience a culture or understand the business ethics from the international experience?

In a tough economic environment like today’s, it is becoming clear that students must find a way to reinvent the traditional education strategies in order to make themselves more competitive in today’s job market.

While studying abroad can open the mind to different cultures and experiences, a Eurotrip isn’t necessarily going to attract employers to candidates. International job markets are fierce and require students to master not only different languages and cultures, but also the ability to understand the business ethics of the world. In an effort to provide students with the highest possibility of success, Tech has created the Languages for Business and Technology program, or the LBAT for short.

The LBAT program provides the opportunity for future currency traders, importing/exporting agents and international stock brokers of Tech to immerse themselves in the cultural and economic practices of their target country. Students are given the chance to spend six to eight weeks of their summer semester living, working, and traveling in one of nine different countries in order to gain a global perspective and new understanding of a particular country.

“I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about Korea and its history and traditions outside of the classroom. I took up to the Korean 2002 level here at Tech. Though I did learn the basics of the Korean language, I yearned to learn more about the culture in a different way,”  said Seol Lee, fifth-year ChBE major and participant in the Korean LBAT program.

Each country’s program is specific to both the economic and cultural practices, but follows a general template in which after completing the required language prerequisites here at Tech, students continue learning the country’s specific language through language immersion classes, which are coupled with visits to historic sights and leading economic sites throughout the country.

Students are equipped with the knowledge and skill on how to pursue internships or intended careers within their country of study.

“My heritage is German. My mother was born there and married my American father. Once I came to Tech, I decided that I wanted to learn German and gain a minor in [it]. The LBAT program helped me achieve that,”  said James Ruppert, a fifth-year ISyE major.

“I am very interested in international corporations, and specifically German ones. I think we visited between eight and ten firms [and was] able to converse with some high-up executives from large German companies. I am currently in the process of finding a summer internship with a company that we visited while on the program,” Ruppert said.

The LBAT program is currently held in Senegal, Germany, France, Spain, Peru, China, South Korea, Jordan, Russia and Japan.

“The whole experience is something I would never trade. I am only half joking when I say that Germany feels like a second home to me. I am actually going back this summer to participate in a internship,” said Emily Jackson, third-year INTA and German major.

Even though the deadline for the LBAT programs this summer has passed, students should plan early for 2013 and take classes accordingly in their next semesters to free up their schedules. For more information, visit