June 20, 2016

Wyoming to Panama


By Andrea Gurney, USGC International Intern, Panama City, Panama.

If you would have asked the small town, country girl, Andrea Gurney, 6 years ago where she saw herself in her early twenty's her answer would no-where near reflect her current life...

First day in Panama City, Panama
I was born and raised on a farm and ranch, known as Ramirez Land & Livestock, in southeastern Wyoming. As a result, I have always had a strong passion for the agricultural industry.  Upon the completion of my high school career I ventured 500 miles away from home to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Here I am majoring in Agribusiness and minoring in Animal Science, with plans to attend law school upon the completion of my undergraduate career. This fall I will begin my senior year.
UNL has given me the opportunity to further explore my passion for agriculture by allowing me to contribute and make an impact in the industry through on campus activities, and most importantly through internships. Throughout the course of my undergraduate career I have held a variety of internships in the United States; however, this year I am proud to announce that the Nebraska Corn Board has given me the opportunity to view the agriculture industry from a global perspective.
For ten weeks this summer, I am serving as the International Relations Intern for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in Panama City, Panama. The focus of this internship is to gain a better understanding of the importance of international trade, trade policies, international relations, biotechnology, and global food security. Words cannot explain how thankful I am for this opportunity to follow my passion, and to make a global difference in the agricultural industry.
Spanish Teachers: Laura & Gabby
I am now starting my third week here in Panama and to say the least, it has already been quite the experience! My first week was spent learning about the major roles and functions of the Panama USGC Office. During the course of my second week I participated in intensive Spanish classes at Spanish Panama. I am fluent; however, I was aware that the dialect in Panama was going to be different than what I was used to. As a result, I took this course to fine tune my Spanish. I truly enjoyed my classes. The teachers were remarkable. In addition, it was a pleasure meeting other students from all over the world.
Currently, we are now preparing for a database training with the Mexico USGC Team that will take place next week in El Valle de Anton (a town approximately two hours from Panama City). In addition, in two weeks I will be traveling to Peru with our regional director, Marri Carrow. We will be attending a Sorghum and DDGS Promotion Conference. Needless to say, I am looking forward to both of these events.
White Blanca
(White Beach)
Outside of my internship I have been taking every opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of Panama. This is my first time traveling outside of the United States without my family, so it has been quite the experience and I am trying to take advantage of it as much as possible! I have spent ample time in Casco Viejo. This is known as the historic district of Panama City.

Roommates and I preparing to take
off to the small beach outside of Portobelo.
In addition, I was fortunate enough to find a home for the summer with roommates. I live with three young women, two are from Venezuela and the other from Honduras. They are all studying at the Florida State University branch here in Panama, and they will be transferring to the United States in the fall. I have enjoyed learning about their specific cultures and getting to experience Panama with them. My first weekend here we traveled an hour and a half outside of the city to Portobelo. Portobelo is a port city that is in the province of Colon. Upon arrival we took a twenty-minute boat ride out to a small, but beautiful beach in the Caribbean. Our day was spent relaxing and admiring the clear water. This was my fourth time visiting the ocean; yet, I can easily say nothing beats the Caribbean.
This year's Memorial Day was spent at the Panama Canal.
While the ocean was outstanding, so far what I have enjoyed most was visiting the Panama Canal. I clearly remember learning all about it in high school; but, I never would have imagined getting to experience it firsthand. It was quite surreal, and it’s a memory I will cherish for a lifetime.
For me, this entire experience is a reminder that as long as one is passionate, motivated, and willing they will always be presented with an opportunity. My advice to you, no matter what your dream is, no matter what your area of expertise is, and no matter what age, always remember this:
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln

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