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Developing global competence in graduate engineering and science students through an IGERT international internship program


In this increasingly interconnected world, global competence is gaining increasing attention in higher education across many disciplines and in many countries. Graduates are increasingly expected to be able to work with collaborators and customers from different cultures. In this paper, we describe the experiences of fellows in one IGERT program who have each completed an international internship designed to address some of these issues. As part of program requirements for the EIGER IGERT at Virginia Tech, funded doctoral students in participating disciplines complete an international internship. These internships lasted for a varied period of time and in countries across Europe and Asia. Most were completed in academic or government laboratories, and most commonly students relied on their advisors’ contacts to find placements. Based on thematic analysis of interviews with seven recent participants in this program, we present evidence of learning outcomes achieved and evidence-based recommendations for similar programs.