AGEC Student Gains Historical and Cultural Perspective in the Netherlands 

Written by Jo Thomas, Academic Advisor, Agricultural Economics

Katriel Marks (Junior; Carmel) is no stranger to studying abroad. Having already spent one summer in China researching hybrid rice, Katriel recognizes the value of long-term international trips. “You come to understand a place and the local way of living in a way you simply can’t from being somewhere for a week or two. Opportunities to do something like that don’t often show themselves, and I knew I wanted to take advantage of that.” 

Last spring, Katriel made the decision to spend the spring semester at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She chose Wageningen specifically because of its unique and interesting class list, and its central European location that was great for traveling on the weekends. Though she’d been abroad before, Katriel was surprised by the quality and quantity of public transportation as well as the number of grocery stores in just about every European city. She realized she didn’t need a car in Europe and noted the fresh food on just about every city block. 

Another aspect of Katriel’s cultural experience included an up close and personal encounter with history. “One of the most fascinating parts of history I learned about was post-WWII Germany. I travelled to Berlin and Bonn, the capitals of East and West Germany respectively, and visited museums about the occupation of Germany and saw the Berlin Wall.” 

Studying abroad ties in together several aspects of personal and professional development. When asked how she had grown professionally, Katriel explains that she learned how to adapt to environments to produce quality work with little guidance. She learned to work on a team and come up with creative solutions to solve problems. 

Studying abroad allowed Katriel to engage in transformational experiences she wouldn’t have otherwise had. In reflecting on her experience she explains, “I think I came back a much stronger, more resilient person, and I would do it all again if I had to. The ability to travel on the weekends was an incredible opportunity and truly made it worth it. I visited 10 countries during the semester and probably visited 18 or 20 different cities. If you study abroad, make sure you take advantage of being in Europe!”

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