From plant physiology to learning a new language: Jack Pieper

Jack Pieper, a senior in agronomy, is spending his semester studying abroad in the Netherlands after finding the opportunity on the CALS study abroad website.

“I wanted to study at Wageningen University in the Netherlands because I knew that it had a very strong reputation for being the top agricultural university in the world. I also was interested in some of their master’s programs so I wanted to see if it could potentially be a good option for graduate school,” said Jack.

Jack begins his day aborad by waking up around 7:30. He goes to class from 10:10-11:40 a.m. and then he grabs lunch and prepares for his next class, which is from 2-4:30 p.m. After classes, Jack goes to the gym or some ESN (erasmus student network) events like international dinners or game night.

“My favorite part of being abroad is having the opportunity to meet and learn from people from around the world. Every day I’m able to learn something new from the people I’ve met and I’m thankful for that,” said Jack.

At Wageningen, the “semester” system is much different than at Iowa State, explained Jack. Instead of semesters, there are six total periods. Generally, students take two classes at a time during each period, which includes one morning class and one afternoon class. The classes often last 1.5 hours each day and can include a lecture and/or a practical (group work in the lab).

“All of the classes that I have taken so far have been related to agriculture in some way. I’ve already taken a horticulture and ecology course, and I’m currently taking a post-harvest plant physiology and food systems course,” said Jack. “It’s been interesting to compare Wageningen’s concepts and viewpoints on agriculture and agronomy specifically compared to what we learn at Iowa State.”

While being abroad Jack has enjoyed studying new languages, such as Dutch, since he is taking it as a language class. He has also experienced different sports like handball and field hockey.

“If anybody has the opportunity to study abroad, he or she should take full advantage of it. There’s so much more to discover in the world than what we see in Iowa, and the best time to explore is during your college years,” said Jack.

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