Cristina Lara, an International Plan student, has spent 15 months working and studying in China.
Published on: 12-13-2012
Cristina Lara was attracted to Georgia Tech by the opportunity to participate
in the International Plan for undergraduates, she already had more experience
living overseas than in the United States.
fact, Lara had never made more than short visits to America before enrolling at
Tech in fall 2009, even though she is an U.S. citizen. Growing up on military
bases, Lara had lived in Panama, Portugal, Cuba and Italy (spending all of her high
school years in the latter).
as a student in the International Plan, she chose China for her work and study
experiences. The International Plan is a four-year program that integrates
international studies and experiences into participating majors at Tech.
Receiving a special designation on their degrees, International Plan
participants gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly interconnected
didn't find another program like it at any of the other universities I
considered," says Lara, who knew she wanted to major in business
administration from the start. "When I graduate, I'll receive a
certificate that essentially says I'm qualified to work in China. I picked
China because it's a very important country now, and I thought it would be
easier to find a job if I learned the Chinese language and culture."
fulfill requirements of the International Plan, participants must gain
proficiency in another language and spend at least 26 weeks in another country,
engaging in work, study, or research. Lara has far exceeded the time abroad
category, spending 15 months in China.
activities there have included studying Chinese for two months in Shanghai and
Qingdao in summer 2011 and serving as a training operation/project team intern
for BMW Brilliance Automotive in Beijing from July 2011 to January 2012. She
also was an exchange student at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
from February 2012 to June 2012 and a sales representative for AIESEC from June
2012 to August 2012.
who was already proficient in Italian and Spanish when she enrolled at Tech,
says she's learned Chinese well enough to participate in business meetings
conducted entirely in that language. She has also gained insight into how
Chinese form business relationships.
or reciprocal relationships, are very common in China," Lara explains.
"You have to build relationships that are more like friendships before you
can start doing business. For example, I had to network on LinkedIn and go
to business dinners and networking events before setting a business meeting."
would eventually like to return to China to pursue career opportunities, but
first she'd like to gain three to five years of consulting experience in the
Georgia Tech's International Plan
Director of Communications
Assistant Director of Communications