Tuesday, February 18, 2014

#psuaged15 member, Kate Bassett, Completes Mission in Lithuania

After a trip to South Korea with the Penn State Agriculture Education program, Kate Bassett (@klb5684) was begging for another chance to travel abroad. When the Army presented her with the opportunity to travel to Lithuania she had not doubts that she was willing to go. Kate, a 2015 student teacher, worked with an Army program called CULP (Cultural Understanding and Language Program) which sends cadets all over the world to conduct various missions. Kate was paid for her work in Lithuania and got the chance to get her feet wet working with the military branch she hopes to join after graduation.

2015 Student Teacher
Kate Bassett
While abroad, Kate got to put her agriculture education skills to work when she spent a week at the Military Academy of Lithuania teaching senior NCO’s and officers. Along with teaching, she was involved in a field training exercise with Lithuanian and American forces and did many community service activities. One of the projects was a carnival for a local orphanage and another was a camp for at risk children. For two weeks, Kate worked at the US Embassy completing financial records for the entire Lithuanian mission. Through CULP, many different teams were sent to Lithuania and Kate worked on compiling records from all of them as well as shadowing the mission commander.

The greatest take away for Kate was the value of simple face to face communication and constant interaction with the local people.  She stated “I learned so much about the people of Lithuania and their culture because they loved sharing it with me and I got to communicate with them on a daily basis” She also said that it was exciting to see how interested they were in learning. She continued “They were not interested in just sitting in the classroom, I had to use all the skills I had learned through Ag Ed to keep them excited and motivated.”

Kate and another cadet trying 'Kefir' for
the first while on her trip to Lithuania. 
During her two month visit in Lithuania Kate had the opportunity to learn about many things about the people and the agriculture. Due to her interest in agriculture Kate unintentionally but naturally gravitated toward people with similar interests. She spent time talking with farmers and local students about their practices and even agricultural research.

Kate recommends that any student, especially Agriculture Education majors participate whatever type of abroad experience they can get. She said“I believe that everyone should have at least one trip outside of the US. It opens your eyes to new perspectives and new possibilities.”

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!

Laura Metrick
2015 Student Teacher

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