On Saturday, October 5th, 18 of IRIS’s YES students traveled to Urbandale to tour the Living History Farms.

IRIS focuses on engaging its students in American culture and history. Living History Farms, a unique and interactive outdoor museum connecting visitors to rural life in historic Iowa, provided the perfect introduction.

For many students, it was the first time learning about Iowa’s history. The students were introduced to pioneer life and Native American culture.

“I love their houses and their lifestyle,” said Rubab, a student from Pakistan.


Many of the students spent the day picking and trying apples from across the farms. Anu, a YES student from India, held up an apple and smiled, “Different apples taste….different!”

The students also enjoyed rides on tractor-trailers, seeing farm animals, and trying on historic costumes.

“I love the dresses that the women were wearing,” said Anu.

The students were very impressed by the farms animals. It was Rubab’s first time seeing  a pig. Tanzanian student, Aziza, loved the horses and wanted to ride them. Laura, a YES student from Indonesia, also wanted to ride the animals after she saw the cows.

“At first I thought it was a buffalo, but it was a cow,” Laura explained.

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The day included a comprehensive tour of the farms. Students toured the 1875 town of Walnut Hill, a 1700s Iowan Indian Farm, an 1850s Pioneer Farm and a 1900s Horse-Powered Farm. Habib, a Nigerian YES student, was excited to learn about how early farm mechanization started.

The student’s visit coincided with the Harvest Festival hosted by the Living History Farms. The festival educates guests about the various aspects of harvesting in a hands-on and fun way.

After the end of the day, the students seemed to have obtained an authentic feel for Iowa.

“I learned that Iowa loves corn!” Faisal, a Saudi Arabian YES student, said.


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