Computer science study abroad fosters learning outside of the classroom

Study abroad programs allow students the unique opportunity to not only learn about a new culture, but be immersed in one. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University offers a study abroad trip to India led by Dr. Rabi Mahapatra, professor and head of graduate admissions, where students are given the opportunity to broaden their global perspective and deepen their critical and comparative thinking skills on offshore software development.

Because almost all software industry giants from the United States have offshore development centers in India, students are able to experience first-hand the current dynamics of these centers and gain an understanding as to why so many companies have begun outsourcing.

This past May, 14 undergraduate research students joined Mahapatra on this study abroad trip.

“This study abroad has helped to broaden my global understanding of the IT industry,” said Lauren Voight who attended the trip. “I have a better insight into the process of building software products and how onshore/offshore development is handled. This study abroad has given me experience that I could not have gotten in a classroom setting. The knowledge and experience that I received from this trip can most definitely help me in my future career.”

These high impact experiences challenge students’ outlook on their own lives and offer a glimpse into a world previously unknown to them. This cultivates individuals who have a well-rounded perspective on business, life and adventure.

While on the trip, Voight and fellow student Gilbert Cruz, leveraged the opportunity to go beyond the course requirement to advance their undergraduate research work to present two papers, which were completed in collaboration with Matthew Dillard, Meagan McCright-Morrow and Jacob Jones, at the International Conference on Smart Electronic Systems (ICSES) held at KLE Technological University. Associate Professsor, Dr. Bruce Gooch, advised the students on these projects. In addition to leading this study abroad experience, Mahapatra was also a keynote speaker at the conference.