"I want to broaden my horizons, make myself more aware about the rest of the world," said Katie, who is originally from Boston, Mass.
"And I also want to improve my Spanish. Studying for a semester in another country just seems like a great way to learn."
This year, seven students at TTU are participating in the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), traveling to countries such as Mexico, Thailand and Austria, to study at the universities there. Not only will they get academic credits that count toward their degrees from TTU; they will gain a unique perspective on the world that only can be earned in a foreign land.
"This is an excellent program available to students who really want to learn more about the world," said Brian Mylrea, director of TTU's International Student Affairs.
"And not only do the students who travel abroad from TTU benefit, but at the same time they act as ambassadors for Tennessee Tech, and we hope to get more students from abroad to come here to study," he added.
ISEP is a "reciprocal program," meaning that for every student TTU sends to another country, a student from another country can study at TTU.
"The cost of exchange is based on the cost of tuition, room and board at Tennessee Tech -- essentially, a student studies in another country for the same price it costs him or her to attend TTU," Mylrea explained.
ISEP was founded in 1979 with the mission of providing affordable opportunities for students to travel and study as an integral component of higher education, accessible to all students regardless of social and economic background, he added.
"At TTU, we hope more and more students decide to participate in a program that can definitely be a life experience."
Melissa Greenwood, a junior English major from Bloomington Springs, will study this summer in Thailand.
"I'm interested in learning more about the Thai culture as well as Buddhism," she said. "I'm grateful this program exists so I can get such an opportunity."
In order to gain sufficient fluency in a foreign language and to become thoroughly familiar with a foreign culture and business practices, World Cultures & Business majors at Tennessee Tech have the option of studying abroad or completing an internship in a Spanish-, French-, or German-speaking country.
"I always knew I would study abroad at the university level," said Crystal Wynne, a World Cultures and Business major from Nashville who will study in Austria for the 2001-2002 academic year.
"I was an exchange student twice while I was in high school and know there is no better way to learn about the world than to actually see it."
Through ISEP, TTU students can choose to study at more than 100 sites around the world for one semester, a full academic year, or even for a summer term. They also have the option of choosing to study at a program in English or a foreign language.
"Getting to study in a foreign country and learning the customs, culture and the education in a totally different setting can only be beneficial to our students," said Mylrea. "And we hope more and more students take advantage of such an opportunity."For more information about ISEP, call Mylrea at 931/372-3634 or visit ISEP's site on the web at www.isep.org.