The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student Leadership Exchange facilitates learning, unites cultures

The Student Leadership Exchange between Texas A&M College Station and Texas A&M University at Qatar does more than send students to a new time zone.
Friendships, traditions and Aggie Spirit were shared between the two groups as chosen student representatives from College Station traveled overseas during the spring break. The Student Leadership Exchange allowed College Station students from various engineering fields and leadership positions on campus to spend spring break in Qatar, learning about the University, networking and sharing ideas for the future of both campuses.
“[The purpose of the program is to] increase awareness of the A&M Campus in Qatar, exchange ideas to promote further growth of each engineering society and student programs and continue networking and communication between the two campuses,” said Kelsey Fuller, a junior chemical engineering major and participant in the 2009 program.
Representatives were chosen from the professional society and honor society for each of the four engineering majors as well as Student Engineering Council and the honor society Tau Beta Pi.
Accompanying the 10 engineering students were student leaders selected from organizations around campus, such as Student Government Association, Memorial Student Center Complex, Residence Hall Association and the Corps of Cadets. Fifteen students attended the trip during this year’s exchange program.
While in Qatar, student leaders were introduced to the Qatar campus and its students. College Station students toured the campus and its buildings, watched an Aggie basketball game and addressed freshmen students at the campus. Each leader then met with their respective group – engineering societies, student government or other organizations – to discuss ideas and potential for future progress.
Students spent time immersed in the culture of Qatar. They were treated to multiple opportunities to taste the cuisine. They toured the surrounding area, swam in the Persian Gulf and rode camels across the sand dunes.
“The trip has taught me to always be willing to immerse myself in other cultures,” said senior petroleum engineering major and exchange program participant Greg Caraway.
After a day of activities planned by the University coordinators, College Station students were free to hang out with Qatar students.
“After the activities were over, the [A&M Qatar] students seemed to always have something planned for us to do,” Caraway said. “The greatest experience I had while in Qatar was spending time with both the [A&M Qatar] and [College Station] students.”
Students from Qatar showed College Station students parts of the University and culture that could not be conveyed without this personal interaction.
“The students would come to most of our activities, and this was very exciting because we got to see their perspective on many things,” said participant Rodrigo Garza, a senior mechanical engineering major. “It is not the same thing listening to a tour guide speak than understanding it from a person your age that experiences it first-hand every day.”
Living for one week in another culture is a lesson that will continue to impact the College Station participants.
“The most important thing that I learned from this trip is that diversity is a great thing to have,” Garza said. “I learned that students from A&M Qatar were amazing individuals with a great will to learn about other people. While on the trip, everyone treated us with such warmth that, in a matter of a week, we were able to form lasting relationships.”

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