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During spring break this year, 21 students and three advisors started their 11-day adventure to Argentina. This was my first trip abroad and although I was a bit nervous, I was also excited to study the agriculture industry in a large country in South America.
The first three days were spent in the city of Buenos Aires, touring various parts of the city. A group of us toured the capitol building, called the Pink House, and was very surprised to see how relaxed the security is. The city was busy and was lacking good infrastructure, but was nothing compared to the dirt roads in rural Argentina.
While experiencing the city and touring the countryside, we ate a lot of meat and bread while practicing Spanish most of us hadn’t taken since high school. Rural Argentina was comparable to Iowa, complete with numerous corn and soybean fields.
One of many memorable moments was riding a horse on a trail at the gaucho (cowboy) ranch we visited. My favorite experiences were when we had the opportunity to talk with citizens at various farm visits and dinners sponsored by businesses and families. By talking with people, we were able to learn more about life in Argentina, instead of believing what we read on the internet.
School days in Argentina are shorter than ours, but public universities are free to anyone who lives in Argentina. Since Argentina is where the tango originated from, we were able to participate in tango lessons. Although we were no good at tango, we did enjoying dancing because most music comes from the United States and we were able to sing along.
They also do not have convent access to fruits and veggies. For 10 days, we felt a little deprived of a well-balanced meal, although the meat that was at the asados (BBQ) was delicious. The meals at night started around 9:30 p.m. and may last a few hours, allowing great conversations between dinner guests.
We finished the trip in Northern Argentina at Iguazu Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The falls were beautiful, and by that time I had become good friends with each person from Iowa State University who went on my trip.
I feel blessed for the opportunity that allowed me to make new friends and learn about the agriculture industry in another country. The biggest thing I took away is how important agriculture is to everyone and how people involved should be proud of what they do and innovative to make sure it is prosperous. Although languages are not always the same, the passion for agriculture exists all over the world.
Southeast Iowa born. Ames living. College girl experiencing the real world.
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