Tech’s International Students take a trip to Arlington, TX
The International Student Life Department sent out an e-mail to over 1,500 students in the beginning of the summer with an invitation to take a Texas Culture trip to Arlington, TX. Our initial expectation was to take one 12-passenger van and a Ford Excursion. We thought that we would at most have 15-20 people interested. Wrong! Within two days, we had over 50 contacts showing interest. What follows is a brief synopsis of our trip.
30 people loaded into 3 vans on Saturday morning, August 1, with one bag each that could fit underneath the seat. Our first stop was the Ft. Worth Stockyards for some Texas history and culture. The group sat on the patio of a burger joint at two very long picnic tables. We were situated on the street that the longhorns are led down, so we had front row seats for the event. Pictures were taken with Cowboys, longhorns, railcars, boots, burgers, and historic streets. It was a great way to start a trip.
Baseball was next on our list, and what better way to enjoy a game than to be surrounded
by cheering fans in the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The group sat together in the
top section of the stadium.
We were in the shade and we also had a "Welcome Texas Tech International Students" on the board all because the person that sold us the tickets was a Tech alum. Go Tech! The game was full of cheering, questions, and great discussion. It was an unmitigated success and a great introduction to "America's favorite game."
Narrative by Chris Lemmons, International Student Life Administrator
After the game the boys went to the home of my aunt and uncle and the girls dispersed to 3 other host families to eat and sleep. My parents, aunt, and uncle fixed the throng of hungry international students the homemade food that I grew up with. The night started with 6 casseroles, 4 salad bowls, hot dogs and 2 desserts. By morning, there was not a bite left to speak of. The first day of fun was full of great discussion, laughter, culture, and many smiles. It was relationship building at its finest. I heard and saw countless conversations between people of multiple countries talking about home life, school, culture, family, and much more. Even if the trip had only been for this one day, it would have been a success.
On Sunday, the group met at North Davis Church of Christ to eat breakfast and to gather everyone back into the vans to head to Six Flags. The church is an eight minute drive from the theme park, so you could feel the excitement the entire ride. Once everyone lathered up with sunscreen, we all waited in line. One of our students had a Master Card, so we got to skip the long line and go straight to the front. Once in, we agreed to split up and go wherever our hearts and adrenaline would take us and meet up at the front at a certain time. From a cultural standpoint, I expected everyone to get into small groups in order to get to ride more rides. I was surprised when about 20 of us stayed together the entire time. It was a perfect picture of cultural bonding because the group wanted to experience the joy as a group instead of as individuals. After every ride, we met and talked about what we thought and waited on the rest of the group. It was proof that life is enjoyed more when alongside others. Three pages could not capture all of the stories and laughs and screams of the day.
After Six Flags we ate at Jason's Deli where most of us got the salad bar. Much food was eaten by our group! The three drivers, Chris, Ejike, and Ashton, stopped and got Starbucks for the long trek home. One would think that the vans full of students would be tired and fairly quiet on the way back, but there was a bustle of stories all the way home. We arrived back in Lubbock around 11:00 pm, and slowly dispersed back to our homes—everyone tired, reluctant to see our wonderful trip come to an end.
In all, the trip was fun for everyone involved. We all enjoyed the Texas culture, great conversations and the time spent with new friends. It was a consensus of the whole group that trips and events like this one would need to be a staple for the Texas Tech experience, and we are all awaiting the next outing together.
I want to say "Thank you" to all of the students that went on the trip, and especially to all of the volunteers/friends/family in Arlington that made it possible. It was an enlightening experience that I will cherish and never forget.