Texas Tech University

Study Abroad Spotlight: Juan Duque

Chelsea Grunden

Juan Duque


Juan Duque is a junior finance and accounting major from Quito, Ecuador. He went on a faculty-led study abroad trip to Barcelona last summer, where he took Business Communication taught by Barbie Chambers. He was a recipient of the McKenzie Scholarship, a scholarship awarded to students who wish to participate in an international experience. Duque is very involved with the Rawls College; he serves as treasurer for the Rawls Ambassadors, is a member of the Rawls College Career Management Center Student Business Council and is a student assistant for the college's Business Administration Computing Services (BACS) department. Read more about his study abroad experience and how the McKenzie Scholarship helped him achieve his goals in the Q&A below.

To read his Ambassador Spotlight story, click here.

How was your experience in Barcelona last summer?
My experience in Barcelona was incredible. I had the opportunity to travel to a unique location with a great group of people. In addition to immersing myself in a completely new and different culture, I was also able to develop strong relationships with my fellow classmates while we explored the magical streets of Barcelona.

What did you do in Barcelona?
The program included various cultural activities and excursions that helped us learn about Spanish culture and get adjusted to a new environment. Activities included guided tours, a tapas cooking class, a sailing trip on the catamaran, a flamenco show, a two-day trip to Madrid and much more. We also had the opportunity to explore the city and travel during our own time. We took advantage of our time in Spain. From exploring historical buildings to experiencing Barcelona's nightlife to kayaking and cliff-jumping in Costa Brava, we tried to experience as much as we could. Our time in Barcelona went by too quickly.

What motivated you to study abroad?
I was motivated to study abroad in order to experience a completely new environment and immerse myself in a different culture. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience what the world has to offer.

What did it mean to you to receive the McKenzie Scholarship, and what was the application process like?
I was incredibly thankful and honored to be chosen as a McKenzie Scholarship recipient. The application process was a little bit different than general scholarship applications. For this application, I was required to answer five different questions as part of a video submission.

Do you have any advice for someone hesitant to study abroad?

Taking the opportunity to study abroad is something you will never regret. Once you graduate and you have a full-time job, it is going to become more difficult to find time to travel and explore the world. Taking the opportunity to study abroad allows you to explore a different part of the world while taking classes that count toward your degree requirements. If you are hesitant to study abroad due to financial reasons, Texas Tech and the Rawls College have many scholarship opportunities that can help finance your trip.

Why do you think it is important to study abroad?
I think it's important to study abroad to become more culturally aware. I believe it is important to learn how to adapt to new situations and surroundings. The world is becoming more global and learning how to interact with multiple cultures and business environments will be highly beneficial for any student.

What did you learn from your study abroad experience?
I learned multiple lessons from this experience. Having the opportunity to take Business Communication while abroad was extremely beneficial since it helped me understand the importance of overcoming language barriers and becoming culturally aware – especially in a business setting. I also learned how to adapt to a new culture with different views and ideas that I have not had the opportunity to experience before.

How will your study abroad experience help you in the future?
This experience has helped me grow personally and professionally. It has helped me learn how to adapt to multiple circumstances and test my abilities in a different setting. I also made great friends that will last a lifetime.

About the McKenzie Scholarship
The Mickey and Barbara McKenzie Scholarship was established by the McKenzie family in 2014 to encourage global learning through study abroad programs for graduate and undergraduate students. The scholarship awards $2,500 for fall/spring programs and $1,500 for intersession/maymester/summer programs. In 2017, 11 students received the scholarship.

In order to apply for the scholarship, students must fill out a paper application as well as submit a resume and a three-to-eight minute video essay answering five questions. Application due dates are March 1 for the summer/maymester, May 1 for the fall and Nov. 1 for the spring/intersession. For more information on the application, visit the Center for Global Engagement.