​AGEC Student Gains Global Industry Experience in Peru

Written by Jo Thomas, Academic Advisor, Agricultural Economics

Annalee Witte (Junior, Wilkinson) has always wanted to travel abroad to explore new countries and cultures. This summer, she pursued this ambition through the study abroad program in Peru. This trip provided several opportunities including the chance to complete an internship while utilizing her Spanish speaking skills. 
In preparation for her time abroad, Annalee found it important to spend time focusing on specific areas. She noted studying Spanish, researching Lima and applying for scholarships to have been some of the most beneficial ways to get ready.  Despite all of the ground work prior to traveling, Annalee found there were many differences upon arrival. On her first day of work, she walked into a completely new environment with language and cultural barriers.  “It was so intimidating. I had to learn to work with my team on a project where I constantly had questions but it was difficult to ask them.  I grew professionally so much by pushing through all the obstacles and getting the job done.”
Through this experience, Annalee expanded her cultural awareness and was surprised by some of the things she learned. “I was surprised by how many different landscapes and cultures Peru has. I never expected to be able to visit the desert, the mountains, and the jungle all in one country. Everything in Peru is so vibrant— the food, the people, the architecture. I really had no idea what to expect so everything was a surprise to me.”
Among developing professional skill sets, Annalee also had the opportunity to learn more about the country’s history and culture. “Everything I learned about the Incan empire in Peru was amazing to me. I visited a museum that exhibits the body of a frozen child in near perfect condition. She was a sacrifice to the Incan gods made on top of a volcano. The conditions on the volcano preserved her perfectly. The intricacies of Incan architecture, language, art, and religious beliefs all blew me away.”
Studying abroad provided Annalee a transformational experience unlike any other. For anyone considering study abroad, she has some advice.  “When I made the decision to study abroad for the summer, I was extremely nervous. How would I pay for it and then support myself the next year after making no money over the summer? Well, Purdue is an absolutely amazing university and by applying for many scholarships, I was able to get my entire trip covered. I feel so grateful to the College of Agriculture for being a part of supporting me. Never give up on what you want to do because with enough time and research, you can find opportunities at Purdue to help you make it happen!”