Posted: November 18, 2016 9:51 AM
Joseph Seta has traveled the world with CAES.
He's been on four different study abroad experiences in three different countries and is about to add a fifth to his list when he studies in Uruguay this spring break. We asked him a few questions about learning and living abroad.
What does study abroad mean to you?
Study abroad is an opportunity to see new places, make new friends, learn new things, and get a new perspective on the things we are learning at UGA.
My study abroad trips have helped me to better comprehend some of the concepts we talk about in my classes, such as sustainability, environmental stewardship, and agricultural economics. I understand the global significance of these issues as well as the local importance for me as a future food animal veterinarian. Making this connection and understanding why these issues matter has made me a more focused student.
On a personal note, my study abroad trips have given me greater confidence and a whole circle of close friends with whom I share funny stories and memories of our adventures abroad.
"Conquering that fear, making friends, and having a lot of fun gives you a sense of accomplishment and confidence to tackle other challenges."
There is a certain apprehension about getting on a plane and going to a place where you have never been with people you don't know. Conquering that fear, making friends, and having a lot of fun gives you a sense of accomplishment and confidence to tackle other challenges.
What was your favorite experience abroad?
On all my trips, my favorite experience has been meeting and interacting with the local people. You don't get to do that so much when you travel as a tourist. In addition to that, these are some of the highlights of each of my trips:
I really enjoyed visiting a dairy farm and seeing how the French handle cows. I work at the UGA teaching dairy, so it was particularly interesting to me to see their system and learn about their approach to agricultural issues.
I enjoyed everything about Scotland, but I'd have to say that the highlight was getting to know the other students on the trip and working with them on our service project at the local elementary school. We had so much fun together!
So many fun experiences! Highlights included zip lining and going to the waterfall. Costa Rica is amazing! That's why I went back after my spring break Reforestation Service Learning trip in 2015 for a longer stay on the Maymester Avian Biology trip in 2016.
Tell me about a unique cultural experience you've had abroad.
One of the best things about my study abroad trips has been the unique opportunity to interact with and get to know the local people. I was inspired by the children at the Troqueer Primary School in Scotland, where we rebuilt and revitalized a garden that had become run down and we improved their outdoor classroom.
The children were very excited about our visit and about our projects, and they were eager to talk with us about our home in the United States. They asked some very insightful questions! I also really enjoyed playing soccer with them. Out there, kicking the ball around with those kids, I realized that we are all the same, no matter where we come from or what we have or don't have. We all like to have fun, and that is just what we did in Dumfries!
In Costa Rica, the local people greeted us with a warm welcome and were proud to share their home and their culture with us. I was humbled by how hard they work, and it made me appreciate things I have sometimes taken for granted - my home, my health, my family, and my education.
Seta poses for a selfie with his fellow study abroad students while in Costa Rica.
A toucan rests on Seta's hand in Costa Rica.
What advice do you have for other students considering study abroad?
Do it! Definitely do it! Here's a little interesting fact about me. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for study abroad. My mom attended a UGA study abroad program in Italy (several decades ago) and then returned to Italy for a junior year abroad program in Florence. It was there that she met my dad, who was a local Italian soccer player.They got married after she graduated from college, and here I am, the middle of their five children. So, needless to say, they have always emphasized the importance of a global education and encouraged me to take every opportunity to study abroad.
At first, I was apprehensive about it. It seemed like a lot of time to be away from home and a lot of money to spend. But, I signed up for the Maymester trip to France because it was right up my alley, so to speak, in Dairy Science. I figured I would probably just go on that one trip so I could check the study abroad box on my application to veterinary school. I had no idea it would be so much fun! By the time I boarded the plane to come home, I was already planning my next study abroad trip!
So it has gone - one by one, I have gone on these trips, had a great time, made new friends, learned things I would never have otherwise learned, then returned to UGA and hastily gone to the CAES website to research the programs and find my next study abroad adventure!
"So, if you're thinking about going on a study abroad trip, as my parents would say, GO NOW, WHILE YOU CAN! It is time and money well spent, and you will be so glad you went!"
I feel very fortunate to attend a college that offers so many programs related to my field of study - Animal Science and Dairy Science - and grateful for the scholarship opportunities that help cover the travel costs.
My parents always say, "Go now, while you can!" Once you graduate from college and start working, it's harder to get away to take these trips, and even if you do, you won't experience these places and meet the local people on the same level as you would on a CAES study abroad trip. So, if you're thinking about going on a study abroad trip, as my parents would say, GO NOW, WHILE YOU CAN! It is time and money well spent, and you will be so glad you went!