Staff Spotlight:Tracy Tindle
Tracy Tindle's desire to help international students began while living with two Rwandan roommates during his undergraduate studies at Oklahoma Christian University. This sense of purpose continues to influence his life and career as he supports international students in his current position at the Office of International Affairs.
What are your duties as Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Service?
"Some of the duties that fall under my purview include data analysis, software maintenance, global security analysis, and immigration policy guidance. In addition to those duties, I will often assist international student counselors with immigration services provided to our students."
Tell me about yourself. What drew you to international higher education?
"I was drawn to international higher education during my studies as an undergraduate at Oklahoma Christian University (OC). Two of my roommates were international students from Rwanda and many of my friends were international students from other countries. As a student, I began hosting trips for international students during school breaks and holidays. We would often take trips to Lake Brownwood or to the coast near Corpus Christi. I always found a purpose in helping my friends from abroad. After graduating from OC, my wife and I moved to Saudi Arabia and then South Korea to teach English. Soon after that, I landed a job at the University of Central Oklahoma serving international students in the areas of student life and immigration advising. That was the beginning of my formal career in international higher education."
What are some of your favorite experiences living in foreign countries?
"I tell people that living and traveling abroad can often be an adventure. But adventures are not always fun and are not always easy to endure. However, these experiences are often amazing, unforgettable, and meaningful throughout one's lifetime. I often draw on my experiences abroad for my career and my personal life. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to endure on some of my adventures abroad."
"The best experiences living and traveling abroad can be found in the people you meet. People are the air and energy of the culture you find yourself in while abroad. I could easily try to rank my favorite countries based on food, landmarks, or tourist attractions. However, I prefer to rank my favorite countries based on my personal relationships and the people within those cultures. When a host culture is welcoming and hospitable, the food tastes better because you are enjoying it in good company; the landmarks are more beautiful because you are viewing them with unforgettable friends; and the tourist attractions are most unique because you experienced them with a local expert."
What do you see as the biggest challenges for international students at Texas Tech?
"International students have many unique challenges that are different from the average domestic student. However, I think international students are very much like other students at a university. The biggest challenges are often personal and from within. Nonetheless, international students are dealing with these challenges while in a country and culture that is not their own. Like all people, international students need community and support networks around them to succeed. The Office of International Affairs is a special place that tries to connect our students to these communities and support networks. We want to give our students the resources they need to succeed and overcome all challenges."
What is the most interesting thing you have learned from working at the Office of International Affairs?
"I have worked in international education for about 10 years. I am always learning something new in this field of work. Sometimes I am learning something technical about U.S. immigration regulations and sometimes I am just learning a new fact about another country or culture. The most valuable lessons, however, come from the international students I often serve. While working with students from over 120 different countries, they are always teaching me something new about the world and something new about me."