‘Viajando con Alejandro’ talk encourages students to study abroad

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A Spanish professor at Tarrant County College’s (TCC) Northwest Campus, inspired students to visit the world around them with photograph and video compilations of his time abroad.

Alejandro Garza Gano has visited 102 different countries and shared thousands of visuals with students and faculty Monday.

A photograph by Gano in Oaxaca, Mexico. Photograph by Dylan Guest.

“Growing up [in Monterrey, Mexico], I never had any idea of what was outside my neighborhood,” Gano said. “I also didn’t know English when I moved to the United States, but it helped me learn that there were so many other Hispanic people, like Puerto Ricans and Venezuelans.”

Gano was recently given leave for 15 months to travel the world.

“I decided to explore my heritage,” Gano said. “I was approved to visit every Spanish-speaking country besides Venezuela because of what is happening there right now.”

There are 21 Spanish-speaking countries in the world, all ranging from Mexico to Colombia to Spain and even to Equatorial Guinea.

In addition to exploring major countries and cities, he’s also visited more remote locations, like Rapa Nui, that have been influenced by the Hispanic culture.

Gano chose to visit Rapa Nui during the Tapati Festival because he enjoys attending festivals, many of which people aren’t aware of.

Another unfamiliar location he visited were the San Blas Islands of Panama. These islands are inhabited by the Kuna Indians and remain untouched due to laws that prevent anyone outside of the tribe to purchase land.

Gano said the inhabitants were reluctant to be in photographs at first.

“I never take photos on the first day because I want to get to know the people, and I always ask for permission,” Gano said.

Gano talks about his time in the San Blas Islands.
Photograph by Dylan Guest.

He also spoke about journeys he took, such as the ‘Camino de Santiago.’

“You have to walk for weeks, but I did it,” said Gano. “It took me 34 days to walk 800 kilometers, and during these 34 days I had to have a pilgrim passport.”

Gano said these journeys are all about the experiences.

“For weeks I got to listen to so many different stories and secrets,” he said.

One student asked Gano about places he would recommend to study abroad.

“Now is the time to go to Colombia,” Gano said. “Medellin is a beautiful city to be at.”

Gano also said Seville, Spain is a great location which also happens to be a semester and summer study abroad location that TCU offers.

Lexi Karres, a sophomore history major, said Gano’s presentation convinced her to look at study abroad options.

“I have European heritage, so I always figured the common way to explore it would simply be through vacations,” Karres said. “The more I think about it, though, a whole semester abroad would allow me to learn so much more about so many cultures just like I saw in the presentation.”

Gano ended his presentation with tips on how to be able to travel how he does.

“Anyone can do it,” Gano said. “The trick is to know how to use your airline miles and points from your credit card.”

Gano will continue to host specific events, galleries, and he is publishing a book that will be available on Amazon in August.