I have been here in Wroclaw, Poland for a week now, and have noticed some contrasts between American college students and Polish college students. I have come to the conclusion that we Americans have significantly more actual farm background. Polish college students are mostly from the city and have no experience on a farm. It is so strange to me because I grew up around agriculture and I know industries that aren't just in my area of expertise.

In addition, Polish college students don't really have the agriculture organizations that we have. I was in 4-H and FFA, while these students don’t have organizations to help them learn more about agriculture.

Another really big difference is the style of clothes they wear. The typical Iowa State ag student wears a t-shirt, jeans and boots. The Polish students follow the trends and dress more fashionably. For example, a college girl would wear a dressy top, skinny jeans and flats.

It seems Polish students learn more about agricultural industries through books. We also learn from books, but are fortunate to have more hands-on experience. Polish students study “animal husbandry,” while U.S. students study “animal science.” They are more geared toward animal welfare/well-being. This is important to us as well, but it’s part of the total production picture. Americans are more focused on the technology that’s necessary to develop our animals for efficient production, while maintaining proper care of that animal. 

It’s an “eye-opening” experience and I’ll look forward to telling you more as I become more involved in swine production systems here.

P.S. Poland is a beautiful country!