Global Graduate, Maria Ordonez, 2019

The Global Graduates award is the premier award upon for students who represent The University of Tulsa as a “Global Force for Good”. This select group of graduating undergraduate students are distinguished for excelling academically, contributing to the TU campus community, and partaking in unique experiences abroad. This will be a four-part series featuring all four 2019 Global Graduates.

Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: San Pedro Sula, Honduras

TU Activities and Leadership: Latin American Student Association (LASA) served as Vice President for a year, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) served as class representative for three years, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) served as class representative for one year, Delta Delta Delta Sorority, Orientation Leader, Peer Advisor at the CGE, Engineers Without Borders, Teacher Assistant for Chemistry Lab, Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon Chemistry Honor Society

Study Abroad Experiences: University of Cantabria: Santander, Spain (Spring 2018)

Post-graduation plans: Not sure yet! Either working in the US or going back to Spain for work.

Why did you study in Santander, Spain?
Ever since I decided to come to TU I knew I wanted to study abroad. There is a program at the University of Cantabria that works perfectly for Chemical Engineering students. All of our second semester junior classes are offered there. Plus, who wouldn’t want to live in Spain for a semester!?

How was study abroad different as an International Student?
It is uncommon for international students to study abroad because technically we are already studying abroad! Additionally, sometimes we are unsure about how our visa status is going to work if we are no longer in the United States. But I did not let that stop me from giving it a chance and once the International Student Office gave me the okay, I started the application process. The fact that I have now lived in Latin America, the U.S. and Europe has shaped me into who I am today. Plus it was pretty nice to be surrounded by Spanish speaking people all the time, I missed that from being home. I really want to encourage international students to study abroad! You already took the big jump of moving to the US for four years, why not take the next big jump and add a semester or a year of moving to another different place?

How has studying abroad changed your mindset as a future ENS professional?
After taking engineering classes and labs in Spain and seeing the equipment and methods that are used over there it made me very excited of the idea of possible going back to Spain as a professional. Content wise, my classes were similar to the ones here, but the way professors taught and the type of industry examples that they gave really opened my eyes to how much of a wide field Chemical Engineering is, and the endless possibilities that I will have once I get my diploma in May.

What have you enjoyed most about returning and working at The Center for Global Education as a Peer Advisor?
Getting to share my experiences with people who are thinking about studying abroad, and helping them throughout the whole process. It is a pretty straight-forward process, but sometimes students get stuck, whether it’s getting a class approved, or getting cold feet about going, and I really enjoy telling them that they are capable of doing this, it is scary, but in the end it is so rewarding and you are going to miss it every day once you get back.

Last remarks?
I just want to thank every one of my friends who supported me and encouraged me to study abroad. Thank you to the Center for Global Education for all the help! Thank you to the International Student Services office as well. But most importantly thank you to my wonderful parents and my sister for always being there for me when I was feeling homesick or when I missed a flight and was freaking out, I truly couldn’t have done it without you guys or without WhatsApp!