Different, but similar

Salad serving set with the engraving that says one spoon of love + 100ml of friendship + a dash of luck is the recipe for a wonderful life. A surprise gift in the goody bag from the conference.

The warm welcome of the purple giraffe at the entrance of the hostel “The Cube” hinted at the forthcoming happy-go-lucky hours with new, different, and interesting people.More and more participants arrived at the hostel while the members and vice presidents from “>IAAS (International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences) added the final touches to the programme for the first day of the ICYA (International Conference for Youth in Agriculture). They discussed, among other things, the finger rule during the conference and the potential meaning of the middle finger!

Participants’ badges were handed out and finally, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), we got the chance to get to know each other’s names during the soft skill training and workshop. During the break, we could chat about our studies and points of view on agriculture. That’s when I personally realized that I was in the right place.

My peers are from different countries and have different backgrounds. Nonetheless, the interest in food production systems unites us and makes us similar.

While talking to a peer, Vera Sham, for example, about the expectations of our relatives and acquaintance, we discovered that they have similar opinions about students in the field of agriculture: They can’t understand why that student would choose agriculture over medicine or if a student who always wears boots, actually wants to become a farmer?

Well, here is the answer: Dear all of you, who think that agronomists only milk their cows and mow cow shit. We think, on the other hand, that agriculture is the future and that the future must be created by youth. In other words, no youth, no farmers, no food and definitively no future!

We, students of agriculture, realize the importance of agriculture to sustainable development across the world. We work with our environment and we are happy about our choice because enables us to help not just few individuals, but entire communities!

I would like to add an encouragement to those who wonder if this is a path for them: Open your eyes youngsters in third world countries and design your own home! There is a lot of potential for young people in the agricultural sector in developing countries, if you broaden your horizon a bit! You can build your own local enterprises instead of running away to a bigger city, where your situation may barely change!

At the end of the day, we are students from all corners of the world with very similar everyday experiences and problems, ideas and points of views, regardless of what country we are from. Above all, we are looking forward to long-lasting friendships with each other as a result of this conference, and to a wonderful life in the future.

Blogpost by Vanathy Erambamoorty, #ICYA2017 Social Reporter –vanathye@student.ethz.ch

Picture courtesy of Vanathy Erambamoorty

This post is part of the live coverage during the #ICYA2017 – The International Conference for Youth in Agriculture, organised by IAAS (The International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences).

This post is written by one of our social reporters, as part of their training on social reporting, and represents the author’s views only.

The #ICYA2017 social reporting project is supported by GFAR, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.