Two of my secret passions in life are history and traveling (even though everyone thinks I never leave the city limits). I’ve been to 36 US states, 6 countries, and so many museums that just thinking about them all makes my head spin. I’m always looking for ways to expand my horizons and see new things. What better to do that in college than to go on a study abroad trip with the College of Agriculture? You get history, travel, and agriculture all mixed together and presented to you in about 2 weeks. I was lucky enough to spend the first 2 weeks of summer traveling through England and Scotland, learning more than I ever thought I could.
I started looking into faculty-led trips at the beginning of my sophomore year. Since I am majoring in Agricultural Education, I was looking into any department’s trips in the College of Agriculture. I finally found one with the Agricultural Economics department that was so diverse, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. We toured dairy, wheat, beef, and sheep farms; toured the historic St. Andrews golf course; went through a meat packing plant from start to finish; visited the US Embassy in London; and toured a brewery to highlight a few things. That small list doesn’t even do the trip justice (check out my Facebook for pictures). It was an amazing experience to just see all of this but my favorite part was getting to talk to the farmers and industry professionals. There was so much that I didn’t know about their lifestyles and businesses such as strict regulations on crops and livestock and their farming practices. We were able to spend a couple of hours at each place and ask questions and see firsthand their businesses. Everyone we saw was very opened with their answers about their business and UK agriculture. The coolest part was that they had their own questions for us! They wanted to know about our policies, regulations, and techniques. I didn’t really realize it until partway through the trip but even though we were on their “turf”, they wanted to learn just as much as we did.
Even with a very busy schedule, we did find free time to explore the cities we visited. We took a night tour of London, hiked a mountain in Edinburgh, and shopped for souvenirs. It was a trip of firsts; I had my first grass-fed beef hamburger, tried haggis (sheep stomach), and found out that girls don’t wear baseball hats in the UK (oops). Going into the trip, I knew 1 of the 23 students going. Over the course of the 2 weeks, with great thanks going to our long bus rides, I met some awesome people. There were people from different departments and from all sorts of backgrounds. The friends I met really did make the trip something I will never forget. From all of our farm and factory visits, to exploring Great Britain and what it has to offer, to embracing ourselves in British culture and trying new things; this experience was one of a kind and one of the best decisions I’ve made. I encourage anyone who is even remotely interested in traveling to another country to consider looking into a study abroad trip. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Enjoy the rest of summer!
P.S.- If you want to know more about my 2 weeks in the UK, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.