A Plan of Global Proportions

  OIE

Today, more Georgia Tech students are spending increasing time abroad as they pursue the International Plan (IP), a degree designation earned by a record 42 students this academic year.

It was in the middle of a campsite in Italy where Emily Weigel learned a lesson from a bunch of ants.

The biology major had been conducting research in Germany when she was invited to Italy for fieldwork with a research group that included a renowned insect expert. Though not insect-savvy herself, Weigel jumped at the chance to learn from the best. She had just set down her things at the campsite when hordes of red ants began to crawl on her legs.

“I freaked out, ran away, and jumped in the lake,” she said. “No one knew what was wrong.”

Eventually she and her colleagues broke the language barrier to identify that Weigel thought the ants were venomous because they look like a variety in the southeastern U.S. with a particularly painful sting. As it turned out, these particular Italian ants were harmless.

“We got into a discussion about ecology, awareness of your surroundings, and how what you’ve been exposed to matters in how you respond to things,” she said.

Many students learn similar lessons when studying abroad: By expanding the scope of their world, they become better students, learners, and researchers, and ultimately employees, colleagues, and friends.

Today, more Georgia Tech students are spending increasing time abroad as they pursue the International Plan (IP), a degree designation earned by a record 42 students this academic year.

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Kristen Bailey

Institute Communications

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