Felix Xavier Estico’s normal school day started at 9 a.m. — about 100 miles from Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s Orlando campus.
While most students worry about rush-hour traffic, the 52-year-old North Tampa resident had bus schedules and inclement weather on his mind — the main issues standing between him and his late-afternoon class.
Once and sometimes twice a week, Felix would take two local buses to downtown Tampa — where he would board a Greyhound bus to get to the Orlando area. Once in the vicinity, he would take a local bus to get to downtown Orlando before taking two more local buses to get in the vicinity of campus.
From there, Felix walked more than a mile to Embry-Riddle’s Orlando location. He would spend several hours in the classroom and then retrace his steps back to the Tampa area — minus one bus transfer in Tampa because the local bus didn’t run late enough to get him all the way home.
On average, he would get home around 2 a.m. the following day.
Because Felix was an international student from Seychelles, he was required to take on-campus classes in Orlando.
"I have realized that the way I went about completing my study program is quite peculiar. However, it proves that under any challenging circumstances, excellent results can be achieved if one is ready to make sacrifices."
This spring, Felix completed his Master of Aeronautical Science degree with a 4.0 GPA.
He came to Florida more than a year ago to complete his studies and to be with his wife and children — ages 21, 14 and 10. His family has been living in the Tampa area for the past eight years.
In Seychelles, Felix worked as an international flight operations administrative manager for Air Seychelles. He pursued his master’s degree to enhance his knowledge in the aviation and aerospace industry and was particularly interested in the management aspects of the industry to help him become more effective in his job.
Due to changes in ownership and management while he was away, Felix lost his job. He recently returned to Seychelles and intends to use all of his experiences and resources from his time at Embry-Riddle to find another position in the aviation industry.