by MARY CATHERINE GASTON
For poultry science senior John Allen Nichols, a trip to China this summer will be a first. While it won’t be the first time the Trussville native has traveled internationally, it will be his first as an ambassador.
As president of the Auburn University College of Agriculture’s Ag Ambassadors, Nichols is helping plan the 10-day excursion that will expose 20 ag students, 12 of whom are currently serving as Ag Ambassadors, to the Chinese culture and agricultural system and allow them to interact with students, faculty and industry leaders in the country that ranks first globally both in agricultural production and importation.
The result of a years-long relationship with China Agricultural University, this will be the second time students from Auburn will visit their counterparts in Beijing. They will also tour the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service located inside the U.S. Embassy and agricultural businesses in Beijing before seeing popular cultural sites.
“China is a developing country with a large population, and agriculture is extremely important there,” says Luxin Wang, a Department of Animal Sciences assistant professor and co-organizer and -leader of the tour. “I believe that studying abroad will provide the students chances to explore new ideas and different cultures and also learn how to be more self-reliant.”
While Nichols is certainly excited about these aspects of the experience, the thing he appreciates most?
“With the help of scholarship funds, we are paying very little out of pocket to travel,” he says.
A number of opportunities to learn and grow abroad will be available to College of Agriculture students this summer, and scholarships are available to offset the costs of all of them.
“We believe so strongly in the benefits of these experiences that we have worked to be sure there are funds available to help our students go,” says Henry Fadamiro, assistant dean and director of the College of Agriculture’s Office of Global Programs.
The scholarships are designed to offset the cost of study abroad opportunities so that international experiences will be attainable for more students in the college and the number of students who take advantage of the opportunities will grow. The 2016 study abroad scholarship deadline is February 5.
In addition to the Beijing study and culture tour, the college’s 2016 study abroad offerings include an Auburn plant genetics and crop improvement course taught in China by an Auburn professor and other tours to Costa Rica, Cuba, England, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain and Vietnam.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Scarborough in the Office of Global Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-844-3210, or visit the study abroad page (http://agriculture.auburn.edu/academics/study-abroad/) on the college’s website.