Honduran student travels to study environment

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Coming from Honduras to spend two years at Eastern is nothing unusual for a man who has been to 12 different states in seven years in the name of education and research.

Hector Flores, a graduate student of sustainable energy, said he came to Eastern because of the Fulbright scholar program.

The Fulbright U.S. Student program, the largest exchange program in the United States, helps international students partake in international graduate or advanced research. The program awards scholarships for 1,900 students and Flores was one of them.

Flores said he was first introduced to Fulbright through his professor who was once in the program. Flores said the program showed him a list of universities with great sustainable energy programs and Eastern’s showed up.

It took an entire year to go through Fulbright; Flores said aside from the normal graduate school application process, he also had to fill out extra paperwork proving his literacy in English.

“It was really worth it, but a long process,” Flores said.

Though he is no stranger to the States, he said the two countries are vastly different in terms of geography, culture and overall weather. Flores said while the U.S. experiences a range of weather patterns; in Honduras there are only two—heat and rain.

“It’s a tropical country, I love it,” he said.

Besides the two different weather patterns, he said Honduras is a developing country, so it is not as technologically advanced as the U.S. and the food is very different. Flores said Honduras only serves Honduran food, while in America he can experience many different cuisines; he said one of his favorites was Chicago’s famous deep dish.

However, nothing can overshadow his food back home.

“I kind of miss my food back home—especially my mother’s,” Flores said.

Flores said he has participated in other programs leading him to the United States, and he has spent some time in Oregon, North Carolina, New York and even California. He said he learned English from listening to music, and through studying in the United States, he picked up more of the language.

“I liked it a lot. San Francisco is my favorite place in the United States,” he said.

Flores’ home campus is the National University of Agriculture, which is where he does a lot of field and technical research since his area of study deals with the environment.

He said even though he has been to the U.S. multiple times and enjoys the culture, he still prefers his home in Honduras. Flores said spending time with his family is important to him and every time he leaves, his mother cries, which he feels upset about.

Flores said aside from the traveling and studying, he enjoys playing soccer, running and dancing.

“I’m happy here; I’m learning about new cultures,” Flores said.

     Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-276-1588 or [email protected]