Alexandra: Enjoying the Adventures Abroad

Written by Alexandra Veverka

So much time is passing by so quickly and for a moment I wish I could slow time down. I have made incredible friends here to share so many memories with, whether playing soccer games or going on scary roller coasters. I may feel homesick from time to time, but week by week passes and I feel so much more engaged in the community here. The people are what gets me. The people here, no matter their age, are inviting and so kind.

The work I am doing here is giving me confidence much more than before to tell others I am becoming a plant scientist. I am finally zoning in on what I want to research and what I am actually passionate about. When I first started, my professor put a leaf in front of me and started telling me the insects that were on the leaf visible under the microscope. I looked at him as if he were a madman because I thought in my head “there’s no way you can just look at a random leaf or soil sample and identify the pests off the top of your head”. Now I have been assisting others in the lab to identify species and to me it is so surprising and incredible that I now have that skill. I have a long way to go, but weeks of hard work has taught me so much about how to see things I would never notice before. I hope to continue to understand the relationships between pest and plants and how to improve global agriculture by this with the big picture in mind.

This past weekend I went to Xativa, and thanks to my friend and fellow member of the pack Bartolome, I had an incredible time learning to appreciate not only the culture of Spain, like the incredible paella, but also the history. The castle at Xativa blew my mind to imagine such a completely different time and way of living. I also was able to enjoy the quite adventurous hike up the mountain, and of course stopped in my tracks every five minutes to turn around and say “Wow, I can’t believe that view. It is so beautiful!”. Here in Spain, it is so beautiful and so unique, and I am so happy to continue to appreciate every moment.