Texas Tech University

Student Highlight: Study Abroad—Ethiopia

Students from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at Texas Tech University participated in a study abroad tour of Ethiopia during June 2014. Tech students traveled alongside cadets from the United States Military Academy (West Point). The program was initiated by Dr. Darren Hudson (AAEC, TTU) and MAJ Riley Post (West Point), who coordinated teaching activities in economic development classes during the spring at their respective institutions, followed by a joint trip examining broad issues of economic development in Ethiopia.

Students participated in two broad research projects—one involving seed, biotechnology, and cotton production in Ethiopia, and the second involving the development of model sustainable villages based on alternative energy sources (solar, wind, water). The group spent time in the capital, Addis Ababa, talking with the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) about ongoing projects inside Ethiopia designed to address key social, food, and strategic concerns. Students also had the opportunity to meet with company representatives in the agricultural seed sector to discuss seed markets, agricultural production practices, and general market and social trends.

The group then traveled to western Ethiopia to Bahir Dar University to tour newly designed villages centered around alternative energy sources (solar and wind) for electrification, irrigation, and general sanitation. The students learned about the needs and constraints of these villages, social structures such as communal farming, and the importance of the villages in maintaining a balance between rural and urban populations. Finally, the group traveled to Haramaya University in far eastern Ethiopia to learn about the differences between the more pastoral culture of the high desert versus the farming communities of the west and the activities of the university in researching populating dynamics in the region.

On the way home, the students stopped in Stuttgart, Germany to visit the U.S. African Command. There, the students learned about the overarching economic development and social science research in Africa by the U.S. military. The Tech students were also exposed to the differences in objectives and culture of these activities in a military versus civilian setting.

The Tech students were graciously funded by Bayer CropScience. Bayer's involvement allowed a broader set of student the ability to attend and participate.

Posted date: 07/18/2014