Xchel Diaz

Ashlyn Bain riding a camel in front of pyramids giving a thumbs up to the camera

By Isabelle Keever ‘24

As a first-generation student, Texas A&M University senior Xchel Diaz said he knows first-hand about the reality of imposter syndrome. Studying abroad, however, was something that helped him push through those feelings of self-doubt.  

“Studying abroad was a really good way to realize I’m not alone and I’m not out of place here,” Diaz said. “It normalized the college experience.”  

Diaz first discovered studying abroad through email and looked into programs relating to his major in computer science. He ended up attending a program in Italy for engineering ethics.  

“I enjoyed getting to know all of the people while completing the work,” Diaz said. “We were able to explore Italy and see the impact of ethics and Italian inventors.”  

Diaz was initially wary of participating in an Education Abroad program, unsure of the financial burden it might cause. His advice, though, is to “always look for scholarships.” Diaz applied for and received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.  

Looking back, Diaz is happy he decided to study abroad. Getting the opportunity to experience a different culture and interact with people from various backgrounds was eye-opening.  

“Before you get to college, you think you know what it’s like, but everything is different,” Diaz said. “You can’t generalize anyone. Everyone is unique.”  

Diaz’s career goal is to work for a company developing software. Through this experience, he now hopes to work abroad and travel more extensively if possible.  

“I’m glad I went abroad and familiarized myself with cultural differences and real-world applications,” Diaz said. “Hopefully, this international experience will give me a foot through the door.”