A Tour of the Campus

Even though this semester may look different in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgia Tech-Lorraine building serves as a home base for the students during the week! Take an inside look at the campus with Kaitlyn in her latest blog!

Friday, March 19, 2021 | Written by Kaitlyn

*With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the photos taken in this blog post reflect the way campus is set up to accommodate social distancing, so the campus may look a bit different from usual!*

Welcome to a small oasis of familiarity in the middle of Europe: the Georgia Tech-Lorraine building. 

The GTL Building from the front

The campus is a single building, but comes with everything you’d expect to find on campus in Atlanta. It’s comprised of four floors, six classrooms, two study spaces, and one very popular ping pong table. 

The first and second floors are home to the student lounge, staff offices, nurse’s office, computer room, and laboratories. Above that are the classrooms, which are great for a small stair-climbing workout session if you’re running late and your classroom is on the top floor… I speak from experience. Since Georgia Tech-Lorraine classes are relatively small compared to Atlanta ones, the classrooms are small and fit about 30 students. 

Each level of the building has a similar setup: the staircase and elevator take you out to a small seating area with a bulletin board showing information for things like emergency exits, class schedules, and upcoming Bureau des Étudiants (the BDE, Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s student government) sponsored events. 

Need a place to meet up with your group to discuss a project? Or do you have a train ticket you need to print out? Better yet, want to let off some steam by playing a quick game of ping pong or pool? Head on over to the Georgia Tech-Lorraine student lounge. It’s well stocked with computers, printers, stationery, and coffee you can purchase from a vending machine.

 If you’re the type of student that stays on task best when surrounded by others also doing work, the student lounge is an ideal study spot for you. If not, there are quieter areas in the building open to students; all classrooms are open after classes for the day have wrapped up.

For those without access to computers, or for those who just prefer to use a monitor rather than their laptops, we have a dedicated computer lab on the second floor. 

Lastly, outside the back of the building there is a large parking area where you can sometimes find food trucks, usually organized by the BDE. It’s worth noting that the entire campus is gated, has a security guard present, and only accessible with an ID; the location is incredibly safe. 

Despite this semester being a bit different, the Georgia Tech-Lorraine building is a fantastic place to study and hang out with fellow students!

picture of the back parking lot with a bike

Le Grand Mix

One of the strengths of Georgia Tech and Georgia Tech-Lorraine are the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of its students, so Professor Serafin organized a night of “speed-networking” for undergraduate and graduate students to meet and share experiences! Check out Karsten’s latest blog on the evening.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 | Written by Karsten

The Georgia Tech-Lorraine program includes both graduate students and undergraduate students. However, naturally, students tend to hang out in their respective program. This is because of the age difference, schedule differences, and some language and cultural differences—many of the graduate students haven’t been to the Atlanta campus, while the undergraduates, excluding transient students, have. Some of the graduate students learned English as their second or even third language. Being fluent in more than one language is something I’m quite jealous of.

Since students stick to their programs, even though some of us live in the same building, most of us haven’t met. However, for the first time, the French professor at Georgia Tech Lorraine, who has classes with both graduate and undergraduate students, planned an event for the two programs to come together and mix so that graduate students and undergraduate students could meet. She thought this event could be beneficial to both groups, as some graduate students are coming to the Atlanta campus in the spring and needed information on housing and things to do in the city, and undergraduate students could hear about graduate programs. Professor Serafin introduced the idea to her French class, which I’m a part of, and there was a general interest from our group. She sweetened the idea with free pizza so we could get some of our friends to come, and we promised we could get some more undergraduate students to come, and so Professor Serafin went ahead and planned the event. 

The event happened on Tuesday immediately after the CROUS cooking event. On this rainy Tuesday, more than twenty students from each program came out to meet each other. It was set up in a “speed dating” manner, meaning there were a bunch of tables lined up, with undergraduate students on one side and graduate students on the other, and one side rotated after about two minutes. While this ended up seeming like a really short time, both sides were able to introduce themselves and share some valuable information with the other. After about thirty minutes, there was about five minutes of free for all, so you could meet new students or pick up on a conversation that was cut short by the two minute timer. After all of this, we could continue to mingle and eat the pizza that just arrived. 

Being an introvert, naturally, I wouldn’t expect to have liked an event like this. However, being that I promised Professor Serafin that I’d come and the event having free food, I came and actually had a good time. It was very interesting to hear the graduate students perception of Atlanta and it was good to be able to help them with whatever they might’ve needed that we had previous experience with.

Meet Sanhita: Grad Student Extraordinaire

Check out Noa’s last interview with one of Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s fabulous graduate students, Sanhita! She’s prepping for her internship and has so many opportunities ahead!

I completely have not accepted that I will be back in the States in about a week. With all of my most recent travelling and gearing up for finals, time has flown by even faster than before. I’ve spent the last few days in Barcelona, which has been absolutely magical, but before I left I got the chance to talk to one more graduate student! Her name is Sanhita and she is completing her master’s degree at GTL in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Originally from India, Sanhita completed her undergraduate there and then decided to apply at Georgia Tech Lorraine because it is a “great school with a very high ranking and an opportunity to do two semesters in France and two in the United States, which is unheard of.” After this semester, like the other graduate students, Sanhita is doing a six month internship starting pretty immediately after this spring term ends. She hasn’t decided if she wants to work elsewhere or continue to research with the company she is planning on working with this summer. The company is an oil fields company where she will be working mostly in controls based engineering. Things like how the oil is drilled, the pressure, etc. It is definitely something that she is interested in working in the future and is also something that aligns with her past work which is why she thinks she will be a good fit for the company. When I asked about which classes she is taking, she listed autonomous robotics, network securities, non linear controls. (She let me know that “this is a really hard semester, by the way.”) Her favorite this semester has been network securities, which has been interesting for her and different than the rest. Since this semester has been rather hectic, Sanhita has had less time to travel, but mentioned that last semester she visited Switzerland and Germany which was really fun. I had a really nice time talking to Sanhita. She hasn’t been to the States before, so she’s looking forward to going to Atlanta, and I wish her all the best!

 

Meet Robert: Applying Mechanical Engineering to Medical Devices

Meet Robert, a graduate student in mechanical engineering looking forward to applying his studies in the development of medical devices!

As the semester is nearing its end, I was very thankful that I met another grad student, Robert, before I leave Metz. Robert is from Kentucky, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and is now living in Metz where he is getting his graduate degree, also in Mechanical Engineering. Unlike some of the other grad students I’ve met, particularly the ones from France, Robert is not going back to Atlanta to study, but is rather doing a year at Georgia Tech-Lorraine (this is his second semester), and then going to a partner French school in Paris to finish off his degree as a dual masters student next semester. While he doesn’t speak much French, he is working on it and is excited to be spending his time in France. Initially he didn’t know much about Georgia Tech-Lorraine since he isn’t a Georgia Tech student, but after applying to go to Georgia Tech  as a master’s student, he learned about the feasibility and affordability of Georgia Tech Lorraine.

He felt it was “too good to be true” and didn’t want to let up such a great opportunity. I asked what his favorite class is at Georgia Tech-Lorraine, and similarly to some other student’s I’ve talked to, it’s acoustics. He wasn’t anticipating it being very “applicable,” but it ended up having a lot to do with his interests in the biomedical field. Robert mentioned that he does see himself using the knowledge he is learning in this class, among others, in the future, especially because he hopes to work on medical device design. When I asked if he wants to stay in France or the States he said that staying in France would be a “cool experience,” but it really depends on what the job offers are later on. In the past, he has worked in this field at Ethicon Endo surgery in Cincinnati, where he worked on endoscopic device design. He mentions that “ever since then I’ve known that’s what I want to do and it was really enjoyable.”

For fun, Robert’s best experience has actually been at the music room at ALOES. He met some French students, formed a band with them where he plays the drums, and actually performed at a gala for a graduation. He’s also traveled quite a bit, and for spring break he visited Italy, where he went to Cinque Terre and said it was the most “beautiful scenery possible” with sensory overload. Since this is his second semester here, he’s traveled a little bit less, but this way is able to spend some weekends in Metz as well as save some money since travelling every weekend is pretty intense.

I had a wonderful time getting to know Robert and I wish him all the best with his plans for the future! I hope to meet a few more graduate students before I leave Metz, and am thankful for all of those I have met during my time here.

Meet Zaineb: At the Crossroads of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Meet Zaineb, a graduate student at Georgia Tech-Lorraine who came from one of our partner institutions to find the degree specialization she wanted – and now she’s on the hunt for a job that challenges her!

Another graduate student I met, this time not in my CS class, was Zaineb, who I got introduced to through Sommy, a previous grad student I interviewed! Zaineb is a mechanical engineering student with an aeronautical background. I first asked her why she chose Georgia Tech-Lorraine, and she mentioned that she initially had a chance to study in Mississippi and pursue an aerospace masters, but decided it was not interesting for her since she already has a bachelor’s in that. Georgia Tech-Lorraine, on the other hand, offers both a mechanical engineering degree with an emphasis on aerospace, so it was much better suited for her. Also, GTL allows for an international experience where she is able to meet people of all cultures, unlike in America where, well, there are definitely more Americans. The last reason she chose coming to Georgia Tech-Lorraine is because Metz is so close to so many other countries like Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, which gives her so many opportunities to travel around.

Originally, Zaineb is from Morocco, where she did her undergrad in an international university that partnered with Georgia Tech-Lorraine, which is how she found out about her program here. She is on her third semester and had an internship in Paris prior to this semester doing research and development with an oil and gas company! It allowed her to develop her software and teamwork skills and get to know a diverse set of people while working on different models and simulations. Their goal was to optimize a control loop, and she would definitely be interested in going back into that field. She just wants to be in a field that she can develop her knowledge and not “stay stagnant.” Her primary goal is to not do something that is redundant and wants to be constantly doing something important.

Unlike the other graduate students I met, Zaineb will not be studying in Atlanta, since she would rather just visit there and is going to stay at Georgia Tech-Lorraine for the course of her degree. At GTL, she is taking a few mechanical engineering classes, as well as a special topics class in acoustics. After graduating from school, she would love to move to Germany, because she really wants to work on her German and thinks that they are very strong in the mechanical engineering field, and so it would be an excellent place to work. The job hunt is definitely going on right now, and she’s excited to see where she might end up!

For fun, Zaineb has been lucky to travel to Luxembourg, 5 different cities in Germany, Belgium, as well as Spain and Portugal. Her favorite has been Iceland though, because she got to see the Northern Lights almost every day and it was absolutely beautiful.

I had a really nice time chatting with Zaineb. She was so positive about her experiences at GTL and it was inspiring to see someone with so much interest and passion in her field! I hope to see her around more and am thankful again to get to meet so many graduate students at Georgia Tech-Lorraine.

Meet Hadrian: From MApS to Software Engineer!

This week I met the last graduate student in my Mobile Applications and Services class. This class has been super interesting and a great way to get to develop an actual application that we hope people will use. My group is doing an app that is basically an Uber for kids, and the grad student I met, Hadrien, is developing an app with his group that is promoting being environmentally friendly. The main purpose of the class isn’t only to develop the app, but make sure we have all aspects of a business/startup in place for a competition in April. Tonight I sat down with Hadrien to get to know him a little bit better!

Hadrien is from northern France, where he is doing the dual degree program with ENSEA and Georgia Tech, like many of the other graduate students I have met. He is doing an Electrical and Computer Engineering masters, and taking the MAS class, the securities class, wireless networks, as well as autonomous robotics. He plans on going to Atlanta in the spring semester of next year and is hoping to find an internship in Europe between finishing at Georgia Tech-Lorraine and starting in Atlanta. When I asked what he was interested in, he mentioned that he is mostly a “newbie” when it comes to this degree and even though he did a lot of electrical work before this in his undergrad, he is now delving into the software side of things. He is definitely curious about everything and is interested in development, which is why he is in the mobile applications class and is looking for internships in that field. Hadrien shared that his favorite class is probably securities because it is really new to him, and even if he isn’t good at it necessarily, he is excited about it.

In the past, he did internships specialized in electrical engineering, and even interned in Japan which sounded really amazing! I asked him how he got involved with that, and he mentioned he had a teacher who had told him about that opportunity. “I really wanted to go to Japan because I was really curious about the language and the culture, and to have the opportunity with my former school – I was like yes, I have to go.” Regarding what he wants to do after he graduates, he has no idea, but is really excited to study in the United States since he has never been there. He spends most of his time in Metz, and isn’t able to travel as much as he’d like, given that he works a lot – and it’s a pretty expensive hobby.

I really enjoyed meeting Hadrien and it is always great to be able to talk to people in my classes beyond just a class setting. I’m thankful that this blog allows me to do that and gives me the chance to have more meaningful conversations with other students, especially graduate students that I wouldn’t have otherwise met!

Meet Paul: Diving Into His Passion For Computer Engineering

Noa is making lots of friends in her Mobile Apps class, including Paul, who is taking a deep dive into computer engineering and systems with his dual-degree with Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s master’s program!

My favorite class this semester so far has been my Mobile Applications and Services class. It is a really well-rounded class that is making me think about every element of a business and creating an application. I’m working on a team with another undergrad and a grad student (Boris, who I wrote about two weeks ago) but I also get to meet the other grad students in my class. This week I spoke to Paul, who is from Marseilles, in the south of France. It’s the second largest city in terms of number of inhabitants in France (and I’ll be visiting at the end of this semester)!

Paul, similarly to Boris, is doing a double degree with his French school ENSEA in Electrical and Computer Engineering. After completing this semester, he will be doing a 6 month internship, then in the January he will head to Atlanta, where he plans to graduate in May 2020. When I asked if he’s ever been to the States, he laughed and said no and asked me how it was. I’ve never been to Atlanta so I wasn’t sure but I told him he can definitely come visit me in Colorado!

The reason Paul decided to come to Georgia Tech-Lorraine was because he thought it was a good opportunity to get more experiences regarding his specialty, computer engineering and systems. This semester he is taking mobile applications and services, network securities, wireless networks and computer vision. While he doesn’t know specifically what he wants to do, he knows he wants to be a software engineer at some point. Regarding specific interests, he mentioned cloud engineering is of interest to him, but has worked in the past at an imaging company. At the imaging company, there were some similar topics to what he has learned in class, his favorite classes being computer vision and network securities. He likes the idea of working somewhere that is creating things that help people who are sick or have some sort of disease. Imaging is “fun” because he says “with a single scanner data you can reconstruct a whole patient’s body.” It’s definitely “100% creepy,” but really interests him, and he thinks it’s really important work.

He mentioned he is going to do an internship at a company called SAP, a software company, but is not sure what specific work he will be doing. They are the number one company in France, Oracle’s competitor, and do software services for different companies.

While he doesn’t go home a lot, he said he watches a lot of mini series and films in his free time. It was really great to get to know Paul better, and I’m looking forward to being in class with him. I really enjoy taking a class with graduate students because they bring a completely new perspective to the table. Especially the graduates students from France. In the next few weeks I will update everyone on more of my adventures as well as some more graduate students I meet!

See you soon!

Noa

Taking Advantage of All That Metz Offers: Meet Sommy!

Not many students are so invested in soccer that they email 15 of the local Metz teams and tryout to join. Then again, not many students are completing their master’s in mechanical engineering AND their bachelor’s in applied languages and intercultural studies. Meet Sommy – Georgia Tech-Lorraine’s Renaissance man/master’s student!

The past couple weeks I had the pleasure of meeting two more graduate students! The first student I met I had actually seen before in my French class during our field trips to downtown Metz, and it was nice to get to know him. His name is Sommy, and he is doing a master’s in Mechanical Engineering while also doing a bachelors in applied languages and intercultural studies on the side. He is wrapping that up this final semester with a French capstone course with Dr. Ippolito (also my French teacher!) as well as 3 graduate classes.

Sommy completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and decided to do the combined bachelor’s and master’s (BS/MS) program. He’s studied French for a long time. For the first few years of his undergrad he didn’t take any French, but come his third year he decided to start Duolingo, and thought it would be a lot easier to hold himself accountable by registering for courses. That’s how he got started doing a French minor, and then did the LBAT program in Paris through Georgia Tech. He not only said that the summer study abroad was “absolutely wonderful” but that it also made it a “pretty easy decision” to go to GTL to continue his immersion in the French culture and language.

When I asked Sommy about his future after GTL, he said he is looking for jobs, and industry-wise he’s interested in renewable energy and maybe some aviation/aerospace as well. He’s keeping his options open in regards to where and what he wants to work – even considering both the US and France as potential places to work. He shared that as a graduate student he is required to be a part of seminar course where companies from all over come in and introduce themselves and talk about their projects/services. This allows for corporate relations and recruitment with students, and he said “the fact that we have that as a resource is really cool.”

He also mentioned that his interests align with staying in France after graduation in regards to allowing him to enjoy his hobbies, like soccer, during the week. In Europe, he can come back from work and watch the soccer game in the evening while in the States that would be during the work day. Sommy is an avid soccer player, and was really involved in the soccer community early on in his undergraduate at Georgia Tech.  There is “lots of appeal to social and recreational life in France as well that I have an inclination for,” and the 26 local soccer teams in Metz give Sommy a lot of options to play soccer, even in a relatively “small” town.

While being here Sommy has actually joined one of the soccer teams in Metz, spending the first week emailing 15 teams and trying out with 2. The one he ended up picking is an 8 minute bike ride away, allowing him to practice 4-5 times a week with games on the weekend. They needed a defender, which is his position, and recently it was his first time playing in such cold weather, since Atlanta weather never gets quite this bad. He laughed and said he felt like “bambi on ice,” with the snow in his eyes, it was a “beautiful and fun experience.”

Sommy mentioned something that I’ve been thinking about, saying that his main intention is to be more of a resident of the city, rather than book up every weekend to travel. When studying abroad before, he traveled so much that he doesn’t want to make the same mistake and not take in the city he is living in. This definitely was important for me to hear, since I’ve been booking every weekend to travel. It reminded me of the importance of taking a step back and appreciating where you are! I’m glad I met Sommy, and I wish him the best with all of his plans!

Finding His Niche at Georgia Tech-Lorraine: Meet Boris!

Noa got a chance to sit down and talk to Borris, a grad student at Georgia Tech-Lorraine, who fell in love with the campus while interning in Atlanta and jumped on the chance to attend with a dual-degree program!

The other student I met this past week was actually a graduate student in my Mobile Applications and Services (CS 4261) class. While our class only started out with 3 students, we had three more graduate students join (all which I’ll interview eventually!) and 3 more undergraduates. The student I spoke to was Boris, who is a French student that attended EPF, an engineering school near Paris. At his other school his studies focused in the IT field, specifically in information systems and management for companies.That being said, for graduate school he is more focused on the computer part of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) because he has less background on the electrical part, and he feels like that fits with the graduate program at Georgia Tech-Lorraine.

He described his studies at Georgia Tech-Lorraine as a dual-degree master in ECE which he explained saying, “some people do just one semester at GTL but for me it’s 2 semesters at GTL, then an internship to graduate from my engineering school, and then I go to Atlanta next spring.” His internship program sounded intriguing to me, and while he doesn’t know what the internship will be yet, he was able to go to a graduate seminar to see what the internship possibilities are. Boris even applied to a company and is interviewing next week.

When I asked about his future and what his interests are, he said he is focused more on development and problem solving than research. He likes cryptography, and is also really interested in the network security class with Dr. Paul Voss. “I am more focused on having a job-related view about these fields. I don’t want to work in robotics, so it’s helpful to have classes that are more related to what I want to work in.” He said it’s kind of a “blur” regarding where he wants to work and while he doesn’t want to do research he wants to work somewhere he can do a project, work on something from end to end, and wants to experiment with new technologies to help companies improve their processes. (I couldn’t help thinking that this was similar to what I had talked about with Elizabeth!)

The story of how Boris ended up going to Georgia Tech is a little different from most. While he is from Paris, he chose to go to Georgia Tech when his previous school offered it since he had actually been living in Atlanta for his previous internship. He saw the campus and thought it was amazing, and even his roommate back in Atlanta was a student at Tech. He mentioned that the main difference between his last school and GT is the quality of the assignments and faculty. “People have a really deep knowledge in their fields, so you can ask good questions and improve as a student.”

Since Boris is from France, he doesn’t stay in Metz over the weekend because he spends that time visiting family in Paris. When he is in Metz however, he spends his time at events hosted in the ALOES dorm and rock climbing with other graduate students.

I’m really glad I have the opportunity to meet all the graduate students, especially since I am taking classes with some of them – and their stories are really interesting!

Meet Elizabeth – Grad Student Extraordinaire!

Getting your Master’s give you the opportunity to concentrate on in-depth topics, but getting your Master’s at Georgia Tech means you can also go to GT-Lorraine! That was important for Elizabeth, who is taking full advantage of her first semester abroad!

This past week school has definitely started to pick up a little bit. While I am still spending time getting to know Metz and traveling around, I’m still my good old stressed-out self and making sure I’m understanding all my school materials before I leave on a weekend trip. I visited both Amsterdam and Paris, which I’ll share about another time, but for this week I got to interview two different graduate students about their experiences at Georgia Tech Lorraine!

The first student I met is Elizabeth, who is an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) graduate student with a concentration on telecom. She did ECE as an undergraduate student at University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) with an English minor, before coming to Georgia Tech in Atlanta for graduate school.

Part of the reason she actually chose Georgia Tech was because of the fact they have Georgia Tech-Lorraine as an option. She is doing her graduate degree at the Atlanta campus, and because most graduate schools don’t have study abroad opportunities and she wasn’t able to study abroad in her undergrad, Georgia Tech was the perfect fit.

When I asked why she wanted to go to grad school, she shared that it’s mostly because she needs more time to figure out what exactly she wants to do, and get more specialized in ECE. There are so many things that she wants to have more specific knowledge in, since undergrad is more surface-level and graduate school is more focused.

The graduate classes sound pretty similar in their structure to undergraduate courses, but most graduate students take around 3 classes and have a strong focus. Elizabeth is in her second semester and is taking the start-up lab course, 1 online class (wireless networks), and a network security class with Dr. Voss. So far she likes network security a lot since it covers interesting topics such as encryption and all things that she feels that she has seen before, but didn’t fully understand at the time.

The startup class is also really interesting for her and she said that, “It’s cool because we have a startup project and pitch it to people in France to see what they think.” It really gives the hands on experience and ties in her post grad school interests.

Regarding her interests after graduate school, she shared that she is interested more in telecom which is a change for her because she has always done software related studies. When I asked more about that she said, “I like to find out what exactly is going underneath the surface, and telecom looks into that.”  After having worked at big companies and very small companies, she prefers the small companies because she doesn’t like the bureaucracy of big companies, and with a small startup she feels you get to take more initiative and see a project from start to end.

Lastly, when I asked her about how life was just living in Metz, her excitement was what I’ve been feeling during my first couple weeks as well: “I never would have actually considered living abroad until I came here and now I’m like, wait, this is fun!”