Name: Dimitrius G. Innis
Major: Biosystems Engineering
Hometown: Hart, MI
Program: Ecological Engineering in the Tropics (Costa Rica); Winter Break 2012-2013
Going on my study abroad to Costa Rica has been the best experience for my academic career. While on the study abroad, we experience many facets that greatly enhanced my pursuits toward my degree. On campus, I have only been able to read and observe limited amounts of information, but visiting a foreign country exposed me to new resources that exponentially increased my knowledge and engineering background. We visited Corbana, a banana farm, and toured their farm and research facilities. We were able to interact with employees, through translators, to discuss the methods of operations and how they limit their ecological impacts, along with the use of fermented biological ingredients to replace fertilizers. Additionally, we learned that the researchers are investigating the use of specific fungi or bacteria to counteract destructive diseases and harmful( fungi and bacteria). I could have learned about these situations in a classroom but actually being immersed in the material imprinted the information in my head. We also visited a rice, sugar cane, and coffee farm to engage in similar events as Corbana. At the sugar cane farm, one of the Costa Rican students cut down some cane and then I shaved the outside the plant, so we were able to eat fresh sugar cane which was a definite first time for me. The simple events like the cutting and eating the sugar take the program to a personal level and make it memorable. Throughout the time in Costa Rica we were constantly developing and learning about engineering and the environment. In each facility we visited I was able to gain knowledge to progress my abilities as a student. One of the most eye opening aspects of my experience was the environmental awareness Costa Rica. Costa Rica is trying to reduce their national carbon emission by fifty percent by 2015.
During the program, I assumed I would meet fellow students and get to know a few faculty members to a better level. I never thought I would bond with them the way we did. I made friends that I am now extremely close with, as well as staying contact with the Costa Rican student. In Costa Rica, I was able to spend all day and night with the group building friendship. Personally, I grow as a person by spending time with great people and being submerged in a different culture.
Without this scholarship I would not have been able to go on this study. I am very thankful for the opportunity. I gained so much from this study abroad experience, which has encourage me to pursue another study abroad.