Student Spotlight: Trip to Zimbabwe Provides Eye-Opening Experience
Ashley Hogan took advantage of prestigious scholarship to study in Africa this summer.
Written by Karin Slyker
After traveling 9,266 miles from Lubbock, Texas Tech University senior Ashley Hogan encourages all students to study abroad before they graduate.
“Being in Zimbabwe was the most important opportunity of my life up-to-date,” Hogan said, “The people, landscapes and wildlife renewed my sense of what life can be – simple and stress-free.”
Hogan studied in Zimbabwe for a month this summer and completed an applied agricultural economics course. As an international economics major, she is thankful for this experience and aspires to be an environmental economist.
“I went specifically because this is something I’m interested in doing with my career,” she said. “Texas Tech really opened that opportunity for me to explore what life as an environmental economist could look like.”
Trip of a Lifetime
Hogan teaching students in Zimbabwe.
Hogan earned the opportunity after winning the Phi Kappi Phi Study Abroad Grant. She is one of 50 students nationwide to receive this $1,000 grant from one of the most selective collegiate honor societies for all academic disciplines. This year, 512 people applied for the Phi Kappa Phi Grant.
“When I found out I was one of the recipients, I was so excited,” she said. “I have had such a good relationship with my professors. I really think their excellent recommendations is really what set my application apart.”
In addition to the Phi Kappi Phi grant, Hogan received the Study Abroad Competitive Scholarship through the Texas Tech Study Abroad Office. The Honors College also helped fund her trip.
“Finances were a huge determining factor in whether or not I studied abroad. But I kept in mind one of my favorite quotes by Barry Lopez, ‘We must find ways to break down the barriers between ourselves and a reawakened sense of the power to do good in the world,’” Hogan said. “Money was a barrier. Without scholarships, Zimbabwe would’ve never happened.”
Hogan visited Zimbabwe for a month this summer.
A Rich Experience
While in Zimbabwe, Hogan said her schedule varied every day. The class went on several game drives, visited museums and some of the local villages. The class even taught English, math and science in a secondary school. At the end of each day, a lecture on development economics was presented, and the class discussed some of the primary tensions between conservation and economic development.
“Every day was an opportunity to learn,” she said. “And every day I felt myself changing. It was a very rich experience.”
As a member of the Honors College, Hogan said she chose Texas Tech because of the great value in education it offered.
“I believe its true that you reap what you sow, and I work really hard, but Texas Tech is really my means for everything I’ve accomplished that’s meant something in my life,” she said.
Getting to Know
What is your favorite spot on campus?
The Barnes & Noble store in the Student Union Building.
What is your favorite Texas Tech Tradition?
Carol of the Lights. It brings the whole community together, not just Tech students.
What is your favorite thing about being a Red Raider?
There is so much pride behind the alumni and students of Texas Tech University.
What is your favorite Texas Tech memory?
My favorite memory is definitely going to Zimbabwe. Living in the dorms was fun, too.