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A Once in a Lifetime Trip to Guanajuato, Mexico by Zane Itle, Animal Sciences Major

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Posted: June 6, 2016

I have witnessed and faced many agricultural aspects of Mexico and have gained a greater appreciation for this country that is so important to our economy in the U.S.
At the base of the statue of Pipila overlooking the city of Guanajuato

At the base of the statue of Pipila overlooking the city of Guanajuato

Hello my name is Zane Itle and as a freshman at the Pennsylvania State University I would absolutely recommend this trip to any student interested in the fascinating agricultural industry in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.  This 9 day trip was coordinated by former State Representative, Majority Leader and Secretary of Agriculture Samuel Hayes Jr. who has limitless connections in Guanajuato due to friendships he has acquired over decades of business deals with public officials there.  Mr. Hayes has been sponsoring and leading this one of a kind trip for many years so it was an absolute honor to be selected as one of the 11 students to travel across central Mexico with him.  This is the most jammed pack, informational, exciting study abroad trip of its kind so if you are a student interested you should contact Mr. Hayes immediately. 

This embedded course, AG 297A, requires a few blogs while in Mexico and a final paper with personal reflections but you will learn so much from Mr. Hayes and other people you will meet that your brain will be buzzing with ideas.  As a small town farm kid majoring in Animal Science with planned minors Agribusiness Management and Agronomy I can personally say that I was a little skeptical about experiencing a different culture with different customs, language and food but it was without a doubt worth it; from traveling to a multitude of beautiful vegetable ranches, dairy farms, processing plants of cacti and broccoli, meeting and interacting with dozens of students at the University of Guanajuato and many important officials to experiencing all the history and culture of Mexico and even impoverished villages. 

This trip broadened my horizons and my perspective on Mexico as a nation and its people who were nothing but extremely nice and friendly during our visit there.  I learned many skills on this trip but probably the most important was communication.  While many of the Mexican people we met with spoke some English it could be very difficult sometimes so it was important to become a better speaker and use Spanish language as much as possible to make it easier to communicate correctly. 

I would describe this trip to a potential employer as an encounter with one of our nation's most important trade partners that not many people have ever experienced.  I have witnessed and faced many agricultural aspects of Mexico and have gained a greater appreciation for this country that is so important to our economy in the U.S.  This awareness gives me a unique perspective on international agriculture and innovative ways to deal with a variety of problems we may face.  Overall, this study abroad trip to Guanajuato, Mexico with a very important former state official makes this experience unlike any other.