Written by Alexandra Veverka
It is easy to miss home, but it is the challenge to grow through this. It has officially been a month since I have been here in Valencia, and there is a great deal of emotion tied to the idea that I have begun adapting to a different lifestyle. Nonetheless, this experience, both the good and bad, will serve me in the future both professionally and personally.
I have begun an experiment with biofumigation, using natural chemicals found in plants to incorporate into the soil and eliminate pests issues. To me this is just another incredibly interesting way to avoid the use of pesticides that I have never thought of before. If we can do so efficiently, these plants including mustard seed or cabbage for example can be used as a natural pesticide that is much cleaner and safer for the environment. I have learned more about the history of previously used pesticides like methyl bromide, that have now been limited and replaced by naturally occurring chemicals like glucosinolate. This has changed my perspective on what is possible in agriculture and allowed me to better understand the limitless nature of an ever changing science.
Outside of work, I have genuinely struggled with missing home. Which, I suppose, is not such a bad thing. This is the reality of traveling and discovering new things for yourself. However, from this comes a great deal of personal growth. When you discover who you are without the influence of everyone you have been surrounded by in the past, you learn a lot very quickly about the future you want for yourself. I am excited to use the real-life skills and knowledge I have gained on my own, to interact with even more people when I return home.