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Collective Review and Assessment of the International Experience: Rising Sophomore Abroad Program

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

International Experience, Effective Instruction, and Student Exchange Programs

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.338.1 - 22.338.9



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Paper Authors

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Elizabeth M. Tront Virginia Tech


Joseph G. Tront Virginia Tech

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Electrical & Computer Engineering Faculty
Director of Extended Campus Programs for ECE

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Collective Review and Assessment of the International Experience: Rising Sophomore Abroad ProgramAbstractThe Rising Sophomore Abroad Program (RSAP) was implemented at Virginia Tech’s collegeof engineering to provide a global experience and leadership program for engineering students intheir first year with the intention of preparing them for an extended experience, whether it is aninternship, study, or faculty lead program abroad. The program has two-parts: an instructor ledcourse and a travel abroad experience. All students are enrolled in a special study class entitled“Global Engineering Practice: Leadership and Culture” This course facilitates the exchange ofknowledge about the topics of global culture, leadership, social and economic aspects ofpracticing engineering abroad, historical and international aspects of technology and generalinternational awareness. The class prepares the students for their two week trip abroad whichoccurs just after exams end in the Spring semester. The travel itinerary provides students theopportunity to make an initial contact with an industry or university as they tour during the twoweek international trip portion of the course. It also brings together alumni abroad and industrystateside, with faculty and students to develop a program for global experienceThe multiple goals of the RSAP program include: spark interest in future internationalexperiences such as an internship or studying abroad for a semester; expose engineering studentsto different cultures and customs in the workplace, school and daily life; attract and retainwomen by providing interesting social, cultural and art related experiences; attract culturallydisadvantaged students, raise them up and level the playing field for them; and broaden thestudent engineers’ horizons to better prepare them for being productive employees in the globalworkplace.The program has been run for four years and has collected both data from students as well as thecompanies which have been visited. This paper will review the steps in planning andimplementing both the class and the travel. The assessment of meeting our goals, such asproviding our engineering graduates with intercultural competency, will be discussed.

Tront, E. M., & Tront, J. G. (2011, June), Collective Review and Assessment of the International Experience: Rising Sophomore Abroad Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17619

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