Global Ambitions; CASNR Plans Maymester Study Abroad Trip to China
Traveling through the Chinese countryside in summertime is like being transported back to a different time and place. Outdated machinery dots the never-ending farmland, reminiscent of the United States more than half a century prior. Although some farmland has the flat, arid, West Texas-feel, mere miles away, entire farms are created on flat shelves of land carved out of the hills and mountainsides.
Lines of golden wheat border both sides of the main thoroughfare, glistening in the sun as the sweltering Chinese heat draws out the moisture from the innermost part of the grain. When visitors stop to interact with local farmers, the curiosity of the newcomers is met with kindness, patience and an attempt to explain their activity, regardless of the language barrier.
Texas Tech students have the opportunity to interact with Chinese agriculture on the 15-day tour of China during the maymester session, where they will travel northern and eastern China by mini-bus, charter bus, plane and even camel. Laura Lemons, an agricultural education doctoral student, participated in 2011 trip. She said although she hadn’t previously considered traveling to Asia, the opportunity gave her a chance to learn about the history and rich culture of China.
“It was interesting to see how similar our cultures are in some respects and to understand how very differently our cultures operate in other respects,” Lemons said. “As Americans, we often get frustrated when we encounter cultural differences in our own country, but when we get to encounter those differences within the context of the other culture; it is a whole different and enlightening experience.
Students begin in Shanghai then travel inland to visit Chinese agricultural universities and view agricultural sites that range from university research to current, common farming practices. The trip concludes with a stop in Beijing and the opportunity to visit many historic sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace.
“I’d strongly encourage students to take advantage of this particular opportunity,” Lemons said, “as you will never have a chance to experience the country and the culture as you will on this trip with university faculty that are experienced in travel and interaction is this region and with these universities.”
Written by Kelsey Shaw
CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org