Education Beyond the Classroom: Cultural Immersion at Georgia Tech-Lorraine

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Adaptability, effective communication, planning, and global understanding: these are all skills that employers seek in job candidates. So, how can your student obtain and improve this skill set? Spending a semester at Georgia Tech-Lorraine (GTL), Tech’s campus in France, allows students to hone these skills while staying on track toward their degree and exploring Europe. 

GTL offers students a unique opportunity to attend courses required for their degree in a new environment where their learning reaches beyond the classroom. Stepping outside of the classroom and into a new culture teaches students skills that stand out on a resume and help them to transition smoothly into post-grad life and work. 

GTL French Professor Sonia Serafin set up a program called the Leonardo Program that allows students to immerse themselves in French culture in unique and exciting ways such as sitting in on rehearsals of the National Orchestra of Metz, eating lunch prepared and served by students at a French culinary institute, attending French operas, picking fruits and vegetables at a French u-pick farm, and more. Most of the events offered through the Leonardo Program are free or at a reduced price for students. 

“I am the biggest fan of all the cultural programs that GTL has offered so far. The Leonardo Program has an aim of exposing GTL students to Metz’ and Europe’s history and culture. They will introduce you to the local cuisine, give you free tickets to attend a ballet or orchestra concert, display movies on European history and much more. It is a great way to understand the ‘why’ behind all the cultures you will experience and truly make the best out of your stay in Metz, France,” GTL Spring 2019 student Valeria Boesch Neira said. 

Other opportunities for cultural immersion include a chance to eat dinner at the home of a local French family and interacting with local high school students who attend GTL’s Open House event. There is even a French-Sciences-Sustainability: French Immersion Program offered for students who speak French at the intermediate level and want to improve their fluency. Taking two upper level courses in the Fall at GTL qualifies a student for the Immersion Program, giving them access to additional excursions led by French speakers, a native-language conversation partner, and trips to downtown Metz to learn more about the sustainability efforts in the area. 

“At Georgia Tech’s Lorraine campus, students have the opportunity to dive head first into French culture while continuing to a pursue a valuable degree at our Institution. As well, the charming city of Metz is located centrally in Western Europe, which puts it a stone’s throw away from Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Stuttgart, Luxembourg City, and many other tourist destinations,” GTL graduate student Sommy Khalaj said. 

For more information about Georgia Tech-Lorraine, please visit 


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