Tech launches D.C. study ‘abroad’ program

The new “study abroad” program in Washington D.C. will allow students from Tech to travel to the nation’s capitol in order to take classes and pursue unique internship opportunities. // Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Tech presents its students with a plethora of study abroad opportunities. According to the Office of International Education, the Institute sends more than 2,000 students abroad annually as part of study abroad and offers more than 120 programs to do so. These opportunities account for nearly every continent and academic track offered. 

Some of the school’s most popular programs include endeavors in Metz, Barcelona and Oxford. In comparison, the most recently developed program is located domestically in Washington, D.C.

Proposed by professors Zak Taylor and Larry Rubin in tandem with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs (INTA) and the School of Public Policy (SPP), the “GT@DC” venture aims to offer a “pathways to policy” program of courses, internships, research opportunities and extracurricular activities. 

The program will first take place over the duration of the Fall 2023 semester. 

While “abroad,” students will enroll in a full course load; they will be able to take six hours of academic credits along with six hours of professional internship credits. 

Though the course offerings are still being decided upon, administration will plan according to the students needs. Emphasis will be placed upon courses that fulfill the humanities and ethics (Core Area C) requirement as well as the social science (Core Area E) requirement.

For instance, students may take classes related to INTA or PUBP, such as Global Citizenship (INTA 3050) or Political Philosophy (PHIL 3050). Moreover, the internship opportunities are abundant thanks to the assistance of Tech staff; students can take on unpaid internships at organizations like the Department of State, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the International Institute for Strategic Studies and more.  

Tech alumni have interned with companies like that of the ones listed above, and thus the school has remained in contact with these programs. 

In addition to taking courses and completing an internship, the faculty intends on coordinating extracurricular activities for those within the cohort. 

According to the official flier for the program, this may look like “[participating] in guided field visits to government offices and also [touring] historic sites and museums around the Washington D.C. area.” 

As for the accommodations, students will reside in double, triple or quadruple apartment complexes — similar to that of the housing offered on Tech’s main campus. Attendees will room with their fellow GT@DC study abroad peers. Overall, GT@DC is set to cost $6,300 plus in-state tuition. 

Taylor noted that they “are doing everything to keep costs down. All students pay in-state tuition regardless of residency status. Thus, the total costs are close to — if not cheaper than — a semester here in Atlanta.” 

When asked about the purpose of the program, Taylor and Rubin said that “GT@DC provides an opportunity for Tech students to become connected with important networks of policy and practice in D.C.”

They continued on to say that “students can create a strong and enduring network outside of Atlanta, gain work experience, integrate scholarly and policy dimensions into their program of study and explore public service as a possible career path.”

The two expressed sentiments regarding why they initiated the development of the program.

“While spending a year in D.C. working at the Pentagon in 2017 and 2018, I was struck by our lack of formal and institutional presence. I … began to explore options about how to bring greater Tech presence opportunities in D.C., focused around a semester in the area,” Rubin said.

Taylor emphasized the importance of both non-STEM and STEM majors having some degree of understanding within the realm of policy. 

“[Employers and alumni] were telling us that Tech students were much more employable when they could show real experience and knowledge of the policy space — both domestic and international,” Taylor said. 

He continued on to say that “in order for STEM majors to excel, they need to understand the policy, regulatory and international environments within which firms operate these days. Building a bridge, a car engine or a computer network is no longer just a technical task.”

All in all, that is where GT@DC inspires furthering these abilities. Both professors exclaimed how excited they were for students to experience Washington, D.C.

Taylor says that there is a sense of excitement and empowerment in being around the city.

“The energy and excitement around solving the country’s problems is just fantastic — students will have a ball,” Taylor said. “D.C. is full of college students and 20-year-olds, very few of whom grew up in the D.C. area. Everyone is a transplant, and there is a lot to do.”

Similarly, Rubin says that “there are a lot of social, cultural and professional opportunities to explore. If someone is interested in public service of any sort, it is an essential place to get a jump on a career. I encourage anyone looking for a job in D.C. to spend time there for all of these reasons.”

Applications for Fall of 2023 are available now. 

Space is limited to 17 students during the first semester of the program, and no fees or other commitments are due at this time.

To find out more about the program and application process,  students can contact Taylor at [email protected] or Rubin at