Posted on February 23, 2023 by Rebekah Alegria

Abel Garcia Chavez experienced the opportunity of a lifetime when he chose to study abroad in France last fall. Chavez’ journey began when he was awarded the prestigious Gillman Scholarship that provides students with limited means the ability to study abroad.

With the help of Krishna Garza-Baker, assistant director of experiential learning in the Carlos Alvarez College of Business Student Success Center, he chose the EM Strasbourg Exchange in France.

“I wanted to go to France because I always felt trapped in this ‘son of an immigrant’ body. I felt half Mexican and half American. I wanted to find out what other cultures were out there because I wanted to be a part of something bigger, something new, something different,” said Chavez, who is a junior majoring in statistics and data science.

Chavez was also drawn to France by the technological advancements and investments into artificial intelligence by the country’s president, as well as the booming movement of many company headquarters to France. Seeing it as an opportunity to learn about both the business industry and the history of the county, Chavez took the leap.

At first hesitant about putting himself out there, Chavez began to slowly immerse himself in French culture. As he began to travel more, go outside his comfort zone and talk to all kinds of people, Chavez opened a world of new experiences. From making a new French-Vietnamese friend to climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the trip was life-changing.

“I didn’t know that people like that existed in the world. I met Greek people who loved coffee, Hawaiian people who spoke Spanish but differently than I did, and so many others. Everything about the people I met over there inspired me to come up with the new goal of learning 20 different languages,” said Chavez, a member of the Rowdy Corps Community Scholars.

Chavez urges his fellow business students not to be afraid to throw themselves into new opportunities and encourages them to apply for scholarships to study abroad.

“Just do it. Even if you don’t think you meet the requirements, you never know what will happen. As long as you give yourself a chance and an opportunity, you can reap the benefits of trying.”

Are you interested in participating in one of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business Global Exploration opportunities? Learn about exchange programs on our website.

Deadlines for several global programs are approaching. Don’t miss out on these amazing learning opportunities.

— Rebekah Alegria