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Students Travel Abroad

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
by Peter Hauser | Student Director of Horticulture

My name is Peter Hauser, a senior at UW-Madison, currently working a summer horticulture student directorship at Allen Centennial Garden.

This past spring semester, I traveled to Europe for a 5-month study abroad experience. I studied at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. Wageningen is about a 30-mile train ride east of Amsterdam. The university excels in agriculture and life sciences, and has been named the most prestigious university in the Netherlands. It is one of the top agriculture and agro-forestry institutes in the world. The school comprises 80% international students and is very diverse in its academic offerings.

During my time in Wageningen I studied Sustainable Land Management, Entomology, Organic Agriculture, and Crop Ecology. Classes were partially lectured-based, where the rest of the student schedule was mostly group work and outdoor excursions. In my organic agriculture course, we traveled to numerous local farms and were taught about the different aspects of sustainable dairy practices.

With a horticultural perspective in mind, I traveled throughout Holland to expose myself to the culture and mindset of plant-human interactions. I wanted to learn about new ways to get people to interact with plants. To no surprise, the Dutch are well known for their tulips, and I was fortunate enough to visit the Keukenhof, the world-famous tulip garden in Lisse, The Netherlands.

One thing I noticed was how involved suburban neighborhoods were with their own gardens. Often people would spend up to two hours a day in their 5 x 10 meter gardens, perfecting their craft, and sometimes competing with their neighbors’ gardens. During my semester, the cool and wet climate was perfect for a vast array of tulips, lilacs and hydrangeas. I loved the diversity of these private gardens, enjoying many while riding my bicycle.

This study abroad certainly taught me more about my personal identity and how different cultures approach the aesthetic of horticulture. The Dutch strongly value nature and its beauty, and I am excited to share their cultural ideologies with future innovations at Allen Centennial Garden!

The Allen Centennial Garden and its programs are funded entirely through private support - it receives no state or tuition dollars. To help support the Garden and continue to make our projects and programs possible, please consider a donation.

Tags: UW Students

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