International Agricultural Student Exchanges offer an opportunity of a life time experience, few will ever forget. Exchange to another country, another University with a mix of exchangees from many different nations provides endless excitement, friendships & cultural appreciation at an age when you can "suck it all in" big time. I'd like to encourage many more agricultural students to apply for exchanges.
Potential employers look very favourably on any graduate who has taken these opportunities & made the most of them.
Annette Crawshaw, a Massey University (NZ) Agricultural Graduate is my guest blogger, she has just returned back to New Zealand from an exciting exchange to New Mexico State University, USA. This is her story.
In 4 months I learnt more than I could learn in a textbook, from the internet, your friends or lecturer. I went abroad and studied at New Mexico State University (NMSU), New Mexico in the United States of America for part of my tertiary study for this year!
NMSU is a land-grant University, the largest in the world, owning 85,287 acres. 20,000 students attend the University although roughly 14,000 study at the main campus. The University has a faculty to student ratio of 1:19. Within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences there are a wide range of disciplines and facilities available which are offered through an extensive program selection. Furthermore there are extra-curricular organisations, alliances and groups in which you can find something to suit nearly any interest.
While at NMSU I lived in an apartment on the main campus in Las Cruces. Las Cruces is a part of the dessert and is very dry, and rain is very scarce, an average rainfall of 240mm. Las Cruces is in the Southern part of New Mexico, 30minutes North of Mexico and alongside the Texas border so there is a very strong Southern influence to the way of life.
Studying abroad, I had not considered until the later stages of my degree while studying at Massey University. Although Massey does not have a direct relationship with NMSU both University are partners with the International Student Exchange Programme which allows you to be placed with a partner University.
Going on exchange has given me a greater global perspective, especially in relation to my area of study, agribusiness, as the United States have such a global influence on a worldwide scale. Studying in the States and understanding issues from a different perspective has been hugely beneficial and is something I believe will assist me as I progress through my career.
Studying abroad has been extremely beneficial not only academically but on a personal level as well. You discover a lot about yourself and grow immensely as a person through the challenges and opportunities you experience. At times the hardest thing is often deciding when to say no and prioritising what you want to do because of the endless opportunities that arise.
Studying abroad has been a definite highlight of my University study and is an opportunity that I would encourage more students to uptake. The benefits of going on a student exchange are advantageous at so many levels both academic and a personal level. Many of the people you met and encounter while you are on exchange will become lifelong friends. The experience is invaluable and as a whole presents endless opportunities which arise through the networks and contacts that you make.
I totally endorse the experience to be life-changing.