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Believe it or not, my time in Brazil isn’t a simple vacation, though it’s a vacation enough for me. For the first four days, we will be attending lectures from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m.

On the first day in Brazil we learned about the different soil types in and around Maringá, Brazil. I was reminded by my classmates how diverse our soil is in Missouri. I often forget that my hometown of Bosworth has a much different soil context than Southwest Mo. When Professor Anny asked us to describe how deep the soil is in Missouri, a student volunteered the answer of 6 inches. However, I know that the soil in North Missouri is much deeper. Professor Anny then went on to explain to us that the soil around Maringá is 80 % classified as a latossoles or oxisoils and can be over 20 meters deep. Also, as Maringá gets a lot of rain, the organic matter settles lower in the soil. Professor Anny adds that most of Brazil needs to increase the amount of organic matter in their soil to become more productive. Professor Thiago also discussed sustainability practices with our class.

After class each day, we will be having lunch on campus in the cafeteria. I have been mostly surprised by the food. I expected the food to be much spicy. Gauraná has become a favorite drink of mine, which I have learned is available for purchase at the Latino Market in Springfield.

Following lunch we will be taking industry tours everyday of local agricultural business. Today’s stop included a visit to Cocamar-Cooperativa Agroindustrial. I was very intrigued by Cocamar. As a cooperative, Cocamar believes that their 12,000 associates are owners, customers and supplies, all at the same time. Cocamar is mainly composed of small farmers with most farmers owning 125-1000 acres of land.

Cocamar TourThe night began with a presentation to agronomy students at UniCesumar. This presentation highlighted the Brazilians trip to Missouri, as well as our trip in Brazil. Total surprise! Didnt know this was happening when we left our hotel. Our night ended with dinner at Professor Thaise’s home. This was such a beautiful home. The hospitality shown to us from her and her family was amazing. Definitely is a highlight from my trip. I find that the best way to truly experience a culture is to visit an individuals home and take part in their family life. For me, this shows the true way of living.