Growing up in central Illinois, Paige Jones knew a lot about Midwest agriculture and communications. She also knew that to become most effective as an agriculture communicator, she needed to learn more, firsthand, about how the rest of the world produces food, fiber, and fuel. Paige decided to join other students through the College of Media on the 2015 spring break trip to Belgium. The group visited five cities—Leuven, Brussels, Antwerp, Brugge, and Paris (France).
“My favorite memory from the trip was talking with media students at the university in Brussels. It was interesting to see videos and other pieces they had been working on, and also getting to talk with them about their college experiences. They seemed as curious about our culture as we were about theirs, so it was fun sharing stories,” Paige says.
Sitting in on classes in Belgium allowed Paige to see a new culture and classroom styles from a student's perspective. The trip was a unique and unforgettable experience, one she will get to look back on for her lifetime.
“The University of Illinois does a fantastic job with career fairs, conferences, and study abroad trips to prepare students for the future. But I think the most important thing this university has provided me is the opportunity to meet people. Being surrounded by hard-working, driven individuals every single day pushes me to do more and work harder, which in turn prepares me better for the future,” she says.
Paige chose to major in agricultural communications because it integrates her love for art, writing, and creativity with her passion for the agriculture industry. She says she is continually awed by all the students in the program have accomplished and the lengths its faculty will go to to help make those successes possible. She feels that she is surrounded by intelligent and thoughtful people who will help her be successful.
“At the University of Illinois, specifically within the College of ACES, I have never felt like I'm just a number. The faculty and students here treat me as a person whose thoughts, ideas, and accomplishments matter,” Paige says.