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Mexico: An Amazing Experience in Guanajuato, Mexico, by Jeffrey Norris, Agricultural Engineering major

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Posted: June 1, 2017

Quality, Quantity, and Timing; That’s what it’s all about
Secretary Hayes and I in the agave fields.

Secretary Hayes and I in the agave fields.

Hello! My name is Jeffrey Norris and I am a freshman at PSU. This spring, I had the opportunity to travel to Guanajuato, Mexico for a weeklong study abroad trip that was part of the embedded AG297 course, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that has the chance to go on it.

This trip was led by former Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Samuel Hayes Jr. He has many connections and relationships that have been fostered since his years as the Secretary of Agriculture. Secretary Hayes’ connections and relationships are essential to this trip and without them, our trip to Guanajuato would not have been possible.

We visited so many interesting and educational places during our time in Guanajuato. On one of our first days there, we visited some important landmarks of the city. One of these landmarks was the Alhondigas de Granaditas, which is the granary where the first battle of Mexican Independence was fought. We also visited the town of Delores Hidalgo where Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexican Independence, had his church. Some of the other places that we visited included strawberry fields, a sheep ranch, a dairy ranch, a Mexican fighting bull ranch, a historical hacienda, a cactus ranch, and a vegetable processing plant. These places were very interesting and I learned a lot about Mexican agriculture from them.

I gained a lot from this trip to Guanajuato. First, this was my first time out of the country and even flying. So, I learned a lot about what it takes to travel internationally. Also, going to another country has helped me learn more about what it is like to communicate with people that do not speak your language. This experience has truly improved my communication skills. It was difficult at first to talk to people, but as the week went on I got better at communicating with these amazing people. Another thing that was important on this trip was our group working together. To make it through this trip successfully, our group needed to work as a team, and I believe we did that very well. Being in a group like that during this trip has also improved my collaboration and teamwork skills.

I would describe this trip to a potential employer as an experience where I had the opportunity to visit and communicate with one of America’s largest trading partners and a neighboring country that is very important to the U.S. economy. I would say that I while I was there I learned a lot about Mexico’s economy and industries, especially agriculture, and that now I have a great appreciation and respect for how important Mexico is to the United States. This trip has given me a new perspective on agriculture domestically and internationally and has given me skills to solve a variety of problems. My trip to Guanajuato has taught me so much, improved my education, and was overall a great experience that I am tremendously thankful for.