An International View on Dickinson College’s Farm

Wissal Yaqouti '24, Guest Writer

Dickinson College proudly acknowledges its commitment to sustainability and environmental issues. The college owns an 80-acre USDA-certified organic farm that gives a chance to students from around the globe to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the environmental and agricultural world.

In the fall of 2021, Hala Barahmeh had the opportunity to spend one semester on campus as an exchange student from Palestine. She came to the United States in the summer of 2021, and spent it working on Dickinson’s farm.

Barahmeh is an engineering graduate student whose passion and concern for the environment led her to take an internship in environmental studies for an organization in Palestine. The organization has an established exchange program with Dickinson College for students who are interested in agriculture and farms.

For Barahmeh, the selection process was not difficult but it was specific. She said, “they had to choose one student. They were focusing on someone who had previous experience with farms or was very interested in [the field of agriculture].” Barahmeh had previously volunteered on small organic farms in her home country.

Working on local American farms for the first time, Barahmeh was initially surprised by the size of the farm. She said “I [had] heard it was a small-scale farm, but it was big for me. We have smaller farms [in Palestine] so saying ‘small’ in Palestine and in the U.S. is totally different. I had never worked in a farm where they do organic farming with that scale.”

Her day on the farm started at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m., which she said was “tough and physically tiring.” On the bright side, she loved learning about the variety of crops and going to the lake after a long day of work. Her favorite discovery was American sweet corn, which she mentioned was amazing.

Her time at Dickinson gave her the environmental exposure and the agricultural experience that helped her have more specific goals for the future. She said, “I am more interested in sustainable agriculture, and environmental science. I know more about what I want from that field, academically and professionally.” She is now looking to complete a master’s degree in environmental studies.