October 20, 2016

Tranae Felicien '18 spent her 2016 spring break in Qatar with the Spring Leadership Exchange program at Texas A&M University.

Tranae Felicien ’18 seeks high impact learning. The political science major from Flower Mound, Texas, has already traveled to nearly a dozen countries and is excited to continue exploring the world. She was initially attracted to Texas A&M University because of the plethora of study abroad opportunities offered to her.

As an Aggie student, she has sought to challenge her worldview and understand diverse perspectives by taking on a role as the main program director for the MSC Wiley Lecture Series and by serving as the campaign coordinator with Gig the Vote; however, when she learned about the opportunity to visit the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar through the 2016 Spring Leadership Exchange, she jumped at the opportunity.

The Spring Leadership Exchange at Texas A&M University is a joint program between Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University at Qatar. After a nomination, application and interview process, delegates from both campuses travel during their respective spring breaks and visit the other campus for one week. This results in a two-week exchange program, where students from Education City in Doha come to College Station and students from the flagship campus travel to Qatar. This program is centered on leadership and challenges students to formulate their own definition of leadership while taking a global perspective into consideration.

Experiencing other cultures and developing a global perspective allows Aggies to become better leaders and better citizens who are ready to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.

Although she had been exposed to other cultures, Felicien found she had never been to a place quite as unique as Qatar. She shares how during her time spent in the Middle East, her greatest appreciation was the mixture of old and new. She found that while living in a very modernized setting, the locals still held on to their love of the arts and Bedouin heritage.

While Felicien noticed the distinctiveness of the culture, she also saw the similarities between the group of American students and the group of Qatari students most clearly. She now recollects, “On the trip you learned a lot about the other delegation and you realize they’re not much different than you, they just live in a different part of the world. On the cruise we listened to American music and Qatari music. Of course, none of the Americans knew the Qatari music, but the Qatari students knew all the American music. So we were singing that at the top of our lungs and that really brought us together.”

One of the most impactful experiences students can have while in college is study abroad. Experiencing other cultures and developing a global perspective allows Aggies to become better leaders and better citizens who are ready to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. In an increasingly interconnected world, a global perspective has become essential in the workplace. Since enrolling in 2014, Felicien has participated in three Texas A&M affiliated trips abroad.

When asked about her dreams for the future, Felicien shared how she would love to be a Supreme Court justice, but her “more realistic” goal is to be a law clerk for a Supreme Court justice. She noted that Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young had once done the same.

Felicien has explored her passions with programs that stretch her perspective and continues to seek opportunities to travel the world. In spring 2017, she will be in London for a semester-long trip before returning to College Station to finish her political science degree.

To other Texas A&M students, she advises, “Apply. Apply. Apply for the Spring Leadership Exchange. It has changed my life for the better and I think more people should participate in programs that could really broaden their worldview. You experience cultural differences traveling to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, but an exchange also teaches you how similar we all are and helps you see how we are one world.”

Tranae Felicien is a student worker for the Donor Relations department at the Texas A&M Foundation. She has been recognized as both a President’s Endowed Scholar and a Foundation Excellence Award recipient.

By Shanti Israni ‘18

Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.