International Plan Officially Kicked Off

After more than two years of planning the International Plan is here

Two years of hard work came to fruition in September as Georgia Tech kicked off the International Plan and Undergraduate Research Option this semester. The two programs are part of the Quality Enhancement Plan, and the Georgia Tech administration has high expectations for their success.

"What we realize is that you can take these opportunities to another level to allow our students the ability to take advantage of all the assets and resources that we have at Georgia Tech," said President Wayne Clough. "I think the exciting thing about both of these programs is that they can be shaped around the students' majors, but they tend to push the students out of those majors into something bigger."

Georgia Tech's current goal is to have 100 students enrolled in the International Plan by the end of this school year with five-year goal of getting 50 percent of the student body participating in an international experience by the time they graduate. Currently there are 77 students enrolled in the International Plan, and Associate Provost for Institutional Development Jack Lohmann believes the International Plan will help set Georgia Tech apart from its peers.

"There are only three universities that have about a third of their students involved in some sort of international experience (Cornell University, Stanford University, and Georgia Tech)," said Lohmann. "If we hit our goal of 50 percent of our students graduating with an international experience, we're going to be leaps and bounds above everyone else."

If Georgia Tech is able to reach its goal of 300 students enrolled in the International Plan within five years, there will be an increase in demand for foreign language classes. The International Plan calls for students to do a combination of studying abroad, working abroad (Co-Op or Internship) as well as foreign language classes.

School of Modern Languages Chair Phil McKnight believes his department is ready for the challenge. "The International Plan has funding in place to allow us to grow," said McKnight. "We are prepared to prioritize any student who is in the International Plan to get into language classes that they want."

Lohmann believes that the two years worth of hard work have made the program worthwhile.

"I think we've come up with the national standard. As I travel and give talks and presentations on what we're doing, it is very clear that no one else is doing anything like this," said Lohmann. "I think it is going to position Georgia Tech competitively."