Page 23 - The ALEC Gazette-2018
P. 23

While some enjoy learning inside the classroom, others enjoy learning
half way across the world. The agriculture leadership, education and communications department has many students who travel around the world to study abroad each year. Instead of the traditional classroom learning setting, some ALEC students learn through experiencing other cultures.
Catherine Moore and Kenzie Bastian are just two students who traveled the globe in 2017 learning about agriculture on an international level.
Agricultural communications junior Catherine Moore studied environmental philosophy and history in Scotland during summer 2017. “By studying abroad, I learned valuable intercultural communication skills that will help me in my future endeavors,” Moore said.
Moore spent four weeks exploring and learning through Scotland. She was able to apply the things she had learned in the classroom to another culture and see how they were different.
“I made a conscious effort to experience new things instead of just documenting with pictures,” Moore said. “I learned to experience a country not through a camera lens, but through experiences. That was the most valuable skill I could have ever asked for from my time abroad,”
Because of her experience she is now interested in international agriculture and hopes to embed it throughout her career. “Seeing those new things in agriculture practices inspired me to find new ways to help feed the 9 billion by 2050,” Moore said.
Kenzie Bastian, a sophomore in agriculture education, spent two of her first few weeks of 2018 in South Africa exploring international agriculture. She and 80 other current and past state FFA officers took part in the National FFA Organization’s international
leadership seminar for state officers.
One of the first stops they made was at an African leadership academy. This academy was focused on entrepreneurship and leadership experiences for high school junior and senior-age students. “Most education in South Africa isn’t free. However, 90 percent of the students attended that academy for free,” said Bastian. “I found it cool because the academy’s main sponsor is Curtis Jackson, which is the rapper, 50 Cent.”
After visiting the academy, Bastian said she appreciates her education so much more now. “The students at the school were so invested in learning about who we are and what our program was,” Bastian said. “For the majority of the students we met, it was their first time they had ever attended school and they were so excited, even at the age of junior and seniors in high school.”
One of the group’s tour guides, Lane, a native Ethiopian, was part of an entrepreneurship academy. The village Lane was from experienced a large number of blackouts causing families to lose a lot of their food, which also caused food insecurity in his region. Because of this, Lane developed
a solar energy powered refrigerator in his entrepreneurship classes. He was able to make prototypes, develop a final product, and help end a large issue within his community.
“These academies give immense opportunity to children in areas where education may not seem possible,” Bastian said.
Ahmon Watkins, sophomore agriculture communications student, traveled to South Africa with Bastian. “I loved traveling with Kenzie and seeing how experiencing other cultures changed her perspective on things,” Watkins said.
As one can imagine, Bastian met many people with interesting stories; however, one continues to stick out in her mind. On the
“Studying abroad not only allowed me to see the world, but it allowed me to see who I can be in this world.”
- Catherine Moore
day they visited Nelson Mandela’s statue in Johannesburg, their main tour guide, Raul, shared how he was good friends with Nelson Mandela and had written 21 speeches for him.
“Raul was so humble about his friendship with one of the most influential people in the world,” Bastian said. “I was taken back by how unpretentious and casual he was about his past.”
Leading up to a 14-hour flight to South Africa, Bastian took a six month course
on cultural awareness. “We had meetings with our leaders discussing our strengths and weaknesses with cultural awareness and how we interacted with other cultures,” Bastian said. “Gaining cultural awareness was the biggest skill I learned from going abroad.”
Studying abroad has changed the lives of ALEC students in numerous ways, but the most important skill that students seem to gain while abroad is how they communicate with other cultures. “Studying abroad not only allowed me to see the world,” Moore said. “But it allowed me to see who I can be in this world.” Taking the leap outside of the classroom and their comfort zone allowed the students to be the change they want to see in the world. p
  Tennessee 23

   21   22   23   24   25