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Feb. 8, 2012 Volume 33, No. 19

CAFNR emphasizes study abroad

Chinese Mask

CHINA MASK Each year, about 170 CAFNR students study abroad. In June, students from the college are headed to China to better understand its food production. Ingolf Gruen photo


Faculty says study abroad opens students’ horizons

China here we come. In June, 20 graduate students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources will travel to one of China’s largest science universities to experience the country’s expanding market. The visit is designed to prepare them for careers in a global food market, where China is a major consumer and producer.

The China trip is one of a handful of  CAFNR study-abroad excursions, which enable students to investigate the global aspects of their studies by packing their bags and going there. Each year, the program places about 170 students in various parts of the world, said Matt Pourney, CAFNR study abroad director. 

Last year, students went to Belgium to study European governmental and trade policies, and to the Czech Republic to learn more about the country’s agricultural economics. Other students traveled to Thailand to be part of biodiversity and conservation work. Students interested in horses flew across the Atlantic to look at the Scottish equine market.

“Study abroad gives students a unique opportunity to gain a global perspective in their field of study,” Pourney said. “It gives them a firsthand look at the interconnected nature of the world today and how they can operate and conduct business among other cultures.”

The students heading to China will stay in residence halls at Jiangnan University, which has 30,000 students and 1,000 faculty. Its National Key Lab of Food Science and Technology is the only lab of its kind in China.

The trip will immerse the students in China’s changing cuisine and business practices. Students will tour food factories and supermarkets, dine in restaurants to taste Chinese food firsthand and hear from food experts, said Ingolf Gruen, associate professor of food science. Gruen will introduce the students to the differences in U.S. and Chinese food production practices, visit traditional Chinese companies and speak with representatives of foreign food companies investing in China.

The study abroad program “is our way of getting our students ready for the global nature of the food industry,” Gruen said.

— Randy Mertens