Spain

Taelyr Pfeiffer

Organization: MCP Seville
2013-2014

In Taelyr's own words

How I contributed: As I was the first student in the program to enter into the Technical Agricultural Engineering School just outside of the city of Seville, in a way, I was operating within a different sphere, a different set of goals and customs than the rest of the students who attended more humanity-focused schools in the city. The classes I took and the labs and experiments that I participated in were very labor intensive and required a lot of practical and scientific knowledge. I worked my hardest to read about and learn these more practical and scientific skills as fast as I could. I was very active in my labs and classes, sharing with students and professors many of the things I have learned in the IARD major at Cornell, things that escape ever so slightly their very technical agricultural lens and shed light and the social and political variables at play.

What I felt most challenged by: I must say the most challenging aspect of my time there was the technical language. Learning and mastering everyday Spanish is one thing, it is another thing to be able to name every anatomical  part of an olive, olive branch, olive tree, grape vine, potato bug etc... and then explain their biological and molecular cycles.

What I enjoyed most: Being able to have engaged conversations that were both fulfilling and enlightening with people from very different backgrounds and with very different ideas about the agricultural complex than myself. And I must add it was very enjoyable that these conversations took place completely in Spanish.

Would I recommend this experience? I would recommend this program to other Cornell Ag students. I think in some practical ways it is better than many of the programs available as I was the only non-spanish student in the entire school and no one ever spoke to me in English which is cardinal in becoming proficient in the language. Also the school has extensive experimental grounds with greenhouses,  pastures,  vineyards and orchards that students may use for experiments or study. The professors too were very well qualified, very helpful and keen to engage in conversation with students.

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