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2011 Ag Alum Comparing American and German Agriculture Systems

Alicia Jacquemin in Midst of Year-Long Exchange Program in Germany

April 9, 2012

Alicia Jacquemin works in a German agricultural field. She has a special interest in soils and has been comparing American and German agriculture in her yearlong study program.

Alicia Jacquemin works in a German agricultural field. She has a special interest in soils and has been comparing American and German agriculture in her yearlong study program.

2011 graduate Alicia Jacquemin is following her Wilmington College experience by continuing her education in agriculture. It’s not the kind of graduate studies that’s exclusively at a college or university, but rather the country of Germany is her classroom.

Jacquemin was among an exclusive group selected to participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, which is a yearlong cultural exchange program for 75 Americans and 75 Germans.

It consists of three parts: two months in language school, a semester in a university, and then five months participation in an internship. The duration of the program is from August 2011 until July 2012.

“The program strives to immerse young professionals in the German culture while also developing intercultural relationships as youth ambassadors,” she said. “This program allows for the participants to acquire knowledge of German social, work and study atmospheres.”

At WC, Jacquemin was an outstanding student in the classroom and an effective leader with campus organizations like the Aggies and Soils Club. Add her internships and participation in intercollegiate swimming and she proved to be an outstanding candidate for the exchange program in Germany.

“Wilmington College offered me many opportunities to build my leadership skills,” she said. “Between student organization involvement and collegiate sports, I learned valuable communication and networking skills — these skills were very useful in my internship search.”

Jacquemin has found the knowledge she received through her agronomy studies as “incredibly useful” as she learned about German agricultural practices in the German language.

“Having a base knowledge of soils and agricultural plants allows me to compare the German and American agricultural systems,” she added, noting the knowledge she acquired about soil formation, soil evaluation and soil functions with the Collegiate Soil Judging Team has been especially helpful.

“It was a hands-on experience that gave me a great learning base in soil science and has been invaluable within my learning process of German soils.”

This experience has inspired Jacquemin to look for work within the international community within agriculture, particularly soil sciences. This idea opens a variety of options.

“I have enjoyed learning and comparing the differences and similarities between Germany and the United States,” she said. “I also am interested in pursuing further education in soil sciences. This experience has exposed me to these areas of study and allowed me to see how individuals have then developed their careers.”

Jacquemin said this international experience has shown her the great value of effective communication.

“Arriving in a country without any knowledge of the language, and reaching a point where I communicate everyday in this language, has been a incredible and fulfilling experience,” she said.

“It was a great personal challenge, but is very rewarding. I will no longer take for granted being able to speak everyday in America without struggling,” she added. “After living in Germany for a year, I have realized how much you can learn about your own country from a different vantage point.

“It is not something you can experience in a two-week vacation. This experience has increased my desire to learn about other cultures in more detail, so hopefully this is not the end of my international experiences.

“There is so much to learn!”