Studying abroad while at Tech

Photo courtesy of Surbhi Bhatter

Studying abroad is thought of to be the quintessential college experience; whether it be spending a summer taking classes at GT Lorraine, doing an LBAT in Spain to get credit for a Spanish minor or getting the opportunity to take your spring semester in New Zealand and Australia through the faculty-led Pacific Program, Tech has a variety of international programs available to enhance your degree path and create memories to last a lifetime.

To put it simply, if you get the chance to study abroad while you are at Tech, you should absolutely do it. For many students who had the privilege of studying abroad at some point in their college career, they have claimed it was the “best summer of their life,” and they made friends while abroad that they’re still close with to this day.

Immersing yourself in the culture and language of another country will widen your world view and maybe even open up career opportunities and the discovery of newfound interests.

In addition, going abroad will make you step out of your comfort zone in ways that you probably never have before, and you will learn new things about yourself along the way that will make you grow that much more as a person by the time you return back to Atlanta.

But unfortunately for many Tech students, mainly third and fourth years, the COVID-19 pandemic unfairly took away their opportunity to study abroad.

Students who had already made their travel plans, plane tickets and all, to spend their summer or fall semester in another country were told no to their unbeknownst only opportunity to study abroad due to high levels of
uncertainty and enforced travel restrictions.

By the time vaccines came along and restrictions were lifted, many students who had once hoped to go abroad felt that the ideal window to have gone on a study abroad program had passed and that an internship or co-op would be way more beneficial and practical for them at this point in their college careers. But unfortunately for many Tech students, mainly third and fourth years, the COVID-19 pandemic unfairly took away the opportunity to study abroad.

Students who had already made their travel plans, plane tickets and all, to spend their summer or fall semester in another country were told no to their unbeknownst only opportunity to study abroad due to high levels of uncertainty and enforced travel restrictions.

By the time vaccines came along and restrictions were lifted, many students who had once hoped to go abroad felt that the ideal window to have gone on a study abroad program had passed and that an internship or co-op would be way more beneficial and practical for them at this point in their college careers.

Looking back, older students who were not able to study abroad wish they had been encouraged more during their freshman year to do it because, COVID-19 or not, they feel like that would have been the best time to do it.

A catch with many study abroad programs, in particular popular ones like the Oxford Program and GT Lorraine, is that the vast majority of the classes offered are gen-eds or lower level classes that are generally taken during your first or second year. If you wait too long to take classes abroad, most likely you will have already taken most if not all of the available classes.

And despite how cool and exciting it may have been if they were able to study abroad during their time at Tech, older students who were not able to go abroad were still able to have a rewarding and memorable college experience thus far.

Many of the students who were not able to go abroad became leaders of their clubs and organizations across campus and got extra close with their friends.

They figured out the ins and outs of Tech’s campus, their favorite hangout and study spots and even came to appreciate the city of Atlanta even more than they had upon first arriving at college.

Most importantly, they did not have to go far to discover themselves.