2017 Study Abroad Essay 1 Danielle Hughes


In preparation to come to Poland, I was honestly fearless. While I have traveled abroad a couple of times, it has not been enough to feel confident in hopping on a plane alone and crossing the globe. Nevertheless, I am a self-designated story-teller and adventure-seeker. Paired with a couple of friends, or in this case a few strangers and a professor, I have an wandering soul that is always craving the next spur-of-the-moment plane purchase.

I kind of just decided to go on this trip. I wasn’t looking into a study abroad, I’m not particularly interested in Agriculture, but I had to take a summer class, and I know a couple of Polish kids, and so here I am. I do have to admit I have my reservations about the class, in general. I have absolutely no knowledge on soils or any other word that regarded the class in the syllabus, but I like the outdoors, and I am willing to try anything once. I do not exactly  know how much science this entails, but science has never been a strong suit of mine. Outside of the coursework, though, I am not particularly concerned about anything about this trip.

I expected most of our class days to be spent touring farms and looking at the crops they grow. I assumed we would collect crop and soil samples and go to the lab and study how they grow. I expected a lot of discussion about GMOs, pesticides, and other ways of producing crops that differ between the United States and Poland. I expected to spend many of our class days learning the rules and regulations of Agriculture in Poland, and how that compares to American laws. I expected also to discuss the business aspect, how they sell the commodity, who is buying it, etc.

My expectations of Poland as a place was a chilly, mountainous area. Green mountains, blue skies, and water. I imagined a lot of bicycles and a lot of people walking. There would be village-like neighborhoods with the chunky red roofs and tan-yellow walls, much like I saw in Germany last time. I imagined old buildings that were maintained and fixed up, but kept their original shape.  As far as the university, I envisioned the buildings would be very big, and very tall, and all of them would look alike. Campus would be quiet, and students would be off campus most of the time in pubs or clubs.  I pictured simple buildings, and very plain, not only outside, but inside, too. I did not expect a lot of art work or decoration, but a very simple University. I expected a lot of historical sights with signs explaining battles and huge historical events. Poland has a much older history than America, as does all of Europe. Not only have they seen more major events, but they have come through many more eras, as they are much older countries than the United States, and they have a lot more stories to tell as a result of that.

As far as Polish people, I expected friendly, warm people, much like you would meet in Texas. I expected people would greet you as you pass by, and be excited to practice English and meet someone from another culture. I expected to spend a lot of my time explaining the normalcy of our lives, and talking about how it isn’t all that different from America. Primarily, I expected to constantly have to disappoint some Polish student who dreamed of seeing cowboy hats, huge guns, and everyone riding horses in Texas.


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