CALS Connection — CALS Connection - Spring 2012
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CALS Ambassadors Visit China
Khalil Quinan

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Ambassadors participated in a 10-day study abroad trip to China in May 2011 to learn firsthand about Chinese agriculture.

The ambassadors experienced the culture, history, cuisine and language of different regions of China, while developing an appreciation and understanding of various horticulture developments and agricultural production. The trip consisted of visits to three cities: Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing. They took part in activities that explored various applications of leadership in the community, such as visiting small farms and commercial farming operations.

“Ambassadors were exposed to the Chinese culture in every sense of the word,” said Charlotte Emerson, CALS director of student development and recruitment. “They had the opportunity to visit a local farm, see significant historical sites in China and communicate with students from China Agricultural University.”

The CALS Ambassadors are a group of students chosen based on their success in the classroom and leadership skills.Ambassadors create awareness of CALS academic programs and career opportunities in food, agriculture and natural resources among students, teachers,Advisers and the public.

The agricultural tour offered the opportunity for the Ambassadors interested in agribusiness to combine business with pleasure through sightseeing and intercultural communication.

“The visit was of great value in that students were able to experience various aspects of Chinese agriculture and visit many of the historical sites,” Emerson said.

Carissa Emery, BSA ’11, agricultural education and communication, said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“The entire trip was amazing and eye opening,” Emery said. “China was a great experience for me because not only did I learn how other countries produce agricultural products, but I also learned firsthand the differences in our cultures.This made me very grateful for privileges I have in America and gave me a great respect for Chinese culture.”

For Rusty Hartline, BSA ‘11 agricultural education and communication, the best part of the tour was getting to see the differences in the way Chinese people live and carry out their lives.

“When we visited a family farm outside of Shanghai, things were really put in perspective that Chinese people Work hard for everything they have and they take pride in everything they do,” Hartline said.

Many of the CALS Ambassadors were surprised to see the massive agricultural output Chinese farms produce daily.

“The main difference I see between farming in China versus farming in the United States is the incredibly high efficiency at which Chinese farms operate,” said Alyssa Porter, BSA ‘11, entomology and nematology. “A greater number of highly specialized employees producing agricultural goods at lower wages has really taken Chinese agriculture to the next level. From extraction of the product to shipping, the farm does it all.”

The trip provided a unique global perspective for the CALS Ambassadors, Emerson said.

“Seeing the world, regardless of the country, helps students open their minds to possibilities of jobs, travel and academics on a global scale,” Emerson said.
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