I spent the majority of my childhood living in rural Arizona and New Mexico. When I say I grew up a small town kid, I don’t mean that I grew up in a small city like Lubbock or Amarillo. No, I grew up in what’s considered a small town by any definition. To put things in perspective, Texas Tech’s 2013-2014 freshman class of 6,588 students is approximately 700 people more than the entire population of Tucumcari, New Mexico where I graduated high school. Coming to college in Lubbock, Texas was a big enough transition to me, so why on earth would I want to travel all the way across the world and deal with another intimidating environment? I soon realized, however, that the better question is why wouldn’t I?
My name is Sagar Parikh, and I spent my summer studying Operations Management in Seville, Spain through the Texas Tech Center. My original intent for studying abroad was based on what the Career Management Center at the Rawls College of Business kept telling its students. They would come into our classes and tell us, “In today’s economy, you need to have foreign experience to separate yourself from the rest of the students!” or “Employers will be more likely to hire you if you have foreign experience because they know you are able to adapt to a new environment!” Well like any other student in college, I wanted a job when I graduated from college, so I started planning to go abroad accordingly. I settled on the summer after my second year at Tech, since it wouldn’t be as long as a full semester, I would only have to take one course so the transition would be easier, and Spain seemed like fun.
As soon as I stepped off the plane, I knew that this was about so much more than just making my resume look a little bit more impressive. I literally stepped into a new world, with a new language, new culture, new social norms, new EVERYTHING. It was incredible! I met my host mother soon after, and I don’t use the term mother loosely. She took my roommate and myself in just like one of her own, and treated us so well. Class started soon after, and I admit I cheated the system a bit there. Tech does a wonderful job with some of the classes at the Center, in that it’s actual Texas Tech faculty teaching the course, and in my case the class was in English, which was a big boost. So if you’re worried about going over to a foreign country but not knowing the language, that is hardly ever an issue. But outside of the walls of the Center, I was eating, drinking, sleeping, living Seville, Spain. For 5 weeks, I was a resident of their city and essentially lived life like they did. During the time I spent there, I saw sights like the tomb of Christopher Columbus and King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which was incredible. But what I got out of going abroad was so much more than the sights that I saw, the people I met, or the section I get to put on my resume. I became a more well-rounded individual, and I am now completely confident in my ability to adapt to any environment that I may need to in the future. And I made some friends that will last my entire lifetime in the process.
I’ve had a pretty memorable couple years of college so far. My time studying abroad in Spain, however, is what’s probably going to stay with me for the rest of my life. If you’re on the fence about if you want to go abroad or not, my advice to you is to do it. It’s an experience that I’m not doing any justice in this blog post, nor will anybody talking to you about the experience be able to capture. It’s an experience that is not comparable to anything else. Texas Tech has given it’s students such a great opportunity with our own school located in Spain with it’s programs all across the world. Take advantage of those opportunities. Wreck ‘Em!
How do I find out more about Study Abroad?
- Attend the Study Abroad Fair on September 4th in the Student Union Building Ballroom from 10:00am-4:00pm. Here you can talk with Study Abroad counselors and see what options are available to you as a Texas Tech student.
- Check out the Study Abroad website.