What I Really Learned from Uruguay

As I look back at the wonderful week we spent in Uruguay, I realize just how much we truly were able to experience and learn from another culture. While we learned invaluable lessons about agriculture and production techniques at different beef, dairy and sheep operations, we also learned life lessons as well. Below is a list of things I learned from my time in Uruguay:

  1. Uruguayans love beef. Seriously, with four cows to every one person, it’s basically mandatory that you enjoy eating beef. It’s a plus if you learn to love Herefords.
  2. “Agua sin gas” is a term that individuals from the United States will learn very quickly in Spanish unless you enjoy a nice carbonated water that catches you off-guard when you take a sip.
  3. Uruguay is fairly close to the equator. Uruguay gets lots of sun. Therefore, if you are prone to sunburn, you should learn to wear lots of sunscreen.
  4. If everything is going too smoothly, you should be suspicious. The trip is not exciting enough until the bus breaks down, a person loses a phone, another loses a passport, and someone else has a swollen eye all within two hours on the night before you depart to come home. (have no fear! We got a new bus, the phone was found in a boot, the passport was found in the middle of a pasture, and the eye was healed. It was fun!)

In all seriousness, I did learn some of my most important life lessons on this trip. One of the main things that I was reminded of was to detach myself from technology and enjoy the company I’m with and the beautiful sights that God created around me. I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself amazed at just how beautiful the land was and how valuable agriculture is to our daily lives. I was also appreciative of the wonderful friendships I was able to create from spending genuine, quality time with a group of individuals that were incredibly smart, funny, loving and caring. Each individual on this trip contributed to the wonderful experience that I had. I learned that every person you meet in life can teach you something new and can offer a new perspective on the world around you. I learned that stepping out of my comfort zone and into an opportunity that was completely foreign to me allowed personal growth that I could have never imagined. I received affirmation that I was on the right path in life and that path was one toward a life in agriculture. I will forever love this country and every single lesson I learned from it.