By Isabelle Keever ‘24
Former student Ashlyn Bain studied abroad twice during her time at Texas A&M University. She said the sense of community and connection she gained through these experiences provided a great deal of value as a first-generation student.
“It’s not the same being a first-generation student, and not everyone relates to what we go through,” Bain said. “Studying abroad and meeting people who do understand helped me through college.”
She first went to Mexico after her freshman year and enjoyed staying with a host family. Her second abroad trip was to Egypt, where she took an engineering ethics course.
Through Education Abroad, Bain traveled to and studied in Mexico and Egypt, where she found each experience unique. In Mexico, Bain stayed with a host family and truly immersed herself in the culture. In Egypt, she took in the historic sites.
“Egypt was a place on my bucket list, and the sightseeing really stood out to me,” Bain said.
Bain is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Data Science at the University of Texas in Austin and is working as a Water Resources Engineer at AECOM. She credits some of her success to her Education Abroad experience.
“[I would say to other first-generation students,] it gets better, and you can make it out,” Bain said. “I really encourage studying abroad because it gives you an opportunity to find a community and try new things.”
For the future, Bain hopes to work for a global data firm and is excited to one day “pass it back.” She has a goal of creating a scholarship for other first-generation students.
“I struggled in high school not knowing how I would pay for college, and I know how stressful it can be,” Bain said. “Being able to help someone is on the top of my list.