Wednesday, September 24, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver: Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." ~Hilaire Belloc
"As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own." ~Margaret Mead
A Collage of my France trip
In my senior year of high school, my french club (Societe Honoraire de Francais) offered us a 10 day tour of France. It included Paris, Loir Valley, Mont St. Michel and several other places. My best friend and I decided we were going on this trip together as a last "hoorah" as best friends before we went off to separate universities. It was an amazing trip! We ate baguettes in Paris, toured the tiny medieval town of St. Michel, touched the plaque outside Notre Dame and stood in awe at the amazing chateaus of the countryside. That trip changed me. It opened my eyes to a greater world beyond my front door; it made me love other cultures and seek new experiences; it made me brave to try new things; it made me yearn to know people from different backgrounds. It made me appreciate what it means to be HUMAN.

Several years later, I had the opportunity to travel to Poland and Ukraine with Penn State CAS for an agricultural tour of several cities in these two countries. One evening, we went out to see a ballet in Lviv and our translator was called away and so was our group leader. Suddenly, we were 8 American kids with 5 Ukrainian kids. We didn't speak their language and they barely spoke ours. Suddenly, I began to speak in French. One of the girls in the group had studied there for 6 months and began to answer me! So, here we were in Ukraine communicating in French! And I realized right there that travelling to other countries, speaking other languages, and appreciating people for their culture is a beautiful gift. 

And now I'd like to encourage you (yes you!) to take that plunge as well. Experience the gift of travel abroad, learn about a new culture, put yourself in a scary situation, find that you have courage and compassion deep in your heart. TRAVEL!!

EF Tours in Dominican Republic
I know it's scary, especially these days, but my friends, it is so worth it. And agriculture is a unifying occupation in all nations. We all grow food and we all care about how food is grown. You, as an agricultural science student, have a unique opportunity to not just travel, but to make a difference in your travels. My hope for you is that you'll travel somewhere before you graduate college. It's not hard, there are more opportunities today than there were when I was in school. But you have to make that choice.  You won't regret it.  

Here are some ideas to help you out:

Talk to your teachers about EF Tours (@EFTours) (On Facebook)

EF Tours Summit Experience
This company has evolved in recent years and what they offer now is impressive. You can do everything from a service learning tour, to language immersion, to global summits. At the summits they've had keynote speakers from Al Gore to Jane Goodall work with the participants. And they can also customize a trip to suit your particular needs. In the coming months I'm going to be working with one of their representatives to develop an Agricultural Sciences Trip to the Dominican Republic for an 8 day service learning experience on a local farm. Interested? Have your Ag. Teacher contact me! I'm looking for a few schools to pioneer this trip!

2.Global Youth Institute
World Food Prize - Global Youth Institute. Technically this one is in Des Moines, Iowa. But hear me out! This is a great conference that brings together scientists, activists, students and professionals from all over the world! You have to apply to be accepted, but it's worthwhile. In addition to this, they offer the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship which gives students the opportunity to spend 8 weeks working with scientists and policymakers from around the world!

3. International Programs in the College of Ag. Sciences at PSU!
Somewhere in Ukraine! :)
On the train from Poland to Ukraine
CAS - INTAG. Most universities/colleges have a study abroad program, but #1 I'm a PSU girl so I have to support my Alma Mater and #2 I think PSU does a better job than most with the opportunities it provides! And in the College of Ag. Sciences there are so many great ways to travel and study agriculture! Who could ask for anything more?! You can do a summer abroad, fall break abroad, or an entire semester abroad. There are many options to fit your own academic needs. My advice? Don't make excuses, you are in college once so make the most of it!
4. A few others...Ketja Lingenfelter (Assistant Director for Student Global Engagement) has given me a few sites for you to check out:

Once again, these are just a few of the many opportunities you have to travel outside the U.S. I find these options to be the most practical, beneficial, and of quality for agricultural science students, but there are plenty more! Found a good one? Then comment below to share with others. And please, PLEASE consider travelling abroad. Who knows, it just may change your life!

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." 
~Mark Twain

The Streets of Lviv, Ukraine
Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver

PSU Global Teach Ag! Advocate

World Traveler, Admirer of New Places

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