As the time to board the plane for Uruguay inches closer and closer, I’m filled with a cluster of emotions. Having never been outside of the United States before. A rush of excitement and anticipation awaits. I’m excited to finally explore, firsthand, the Uruguayan culture and agricultural practices that I’ve been learning about for the past two months online. Yet, butterflies lingers in my stomach for the unknown that is about to come. I have set high expectations for myself on this study abroad trip: to always be open minded to trying new experiences of the Uruguayan culture, even if it’s outside of the American norm, and to educate myself more about agriculture across the world and realize that there is no one right way to do agriculture while also realizing that the agricultural practices learned in Uruguay can be applied to our very own agricultural practices here in the United States. This study abroad to Uruguay, allows individuals like myself to broaden our perspective on the challenges that other nations face to improve the productivity and quality of the food they produce and gain an even greater appreciation for institutions such as the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) for granting students the chance to expand our horizons.
A particular interest of mine is learning how Uruguay is able to produce and exports large quantites of beef and grains to other countries across the world. Compared to other countries in South America, Uruguay is relatively small in size but is one of the key leaders in grain and beef production. Being a student in CAES has provided me with a holistic mindset of the importance that excellent agricultural resources and technology usage have on the quality of the food we consume and the need to continually improve the quality of the food we eat. I’m so grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to view firsthand how a smaller country such as Uruguay, utilizes its resources, economy and culture to provide food for not only its inhabitants but millions across the world.