Slovak students visit LSU, learn about Louisiana agriculture

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LSU College of Agriculture students joined students from Slovak University of Agriculture for a panel discussion at the LSU AgCenter Global Agriculture Hour. Participating students were Denis Fabo, a third-year SUA student studying international business with agrarian commodities; Jade Halliburton, a graduate student studying international business in the LSU College of Agriculture; Andrej Husár, who just received his doctorate in business economy from SUA; and Alexis Aagard, a junior in the College of Agriculture studying agribusiness. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

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During a tour of the LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Research Station, Tatiana Pleváková, an SUA student studying food safety and control, takes an alligator from Natália Antošová, a master’s student from Slovakia studying agricultural economics in the LSU College of Agriculture. Antošová, who has been at LSU since August, helped guide the Slovak students around LSU. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

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Students from the Slovak University of Agriculture got to see crawfish at the LSU AgCenter AgMagic event while on the LSU campus. Pictured from left are Vladislav Valach, director of International Relations for SUA; Veronika Vaculová, a landscape architecture doctoral student; Patrícia Martišová, a food safety and control student; and Jaroslav Bažík, a landscape engineering doctoral student. Photo by Tobie Blanchard

(04/21/16) BATON ROUGE, La. – Twelve students from Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia, spent April 9-15 in Baton Rouge learning about agriculture in Louisiana and getting a taste of the local culture.

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture have partnered with SUA to offer student and faculty exchanges and collaborate on projects.

David Picha, director of AgCenter International Programs, said the two universities have been strengthening ties during the past two years.

“We have developed a strong, positive relationship, which benefits both universities,” Picha said.

During their stay, the Slovak students toured the AgCenter Aquaculture Research Station and an alligator farm, dined on crawfish and Dairy Store ice cream, and learned about the land-grant system.

The Slovak students also joined LSU students to participate in the AgCenter Global Agriculture Hour.

The students discussed what motivated them to study agriculture, how traveling effects their knowledge of agriculture and where they see themselves after graduation.

Andrej Husár just received his doctorate in business economy from SUA and plans to work in his family’s poultry business.

“Most young people believe Slovakia has many problems,” Husár said. “When you travel, you see there is not much difference. Every place has problems.”

With the ease of traveling in their region, the Slovak students have all had international experiences.

“I can go to Italy and visit an olive oil farm. I have been to Egypt, so I can better understand their culture,” said Denis Fabo, a third-year SUA student studying international business with agricultural commodities.

Jade Halliburton, a graduate student from Magnolia, Arkansas, studying international business in the LSU College of Agriculture, traveled to Nicaragua with the college earlier this year, and has spent time in Japan through FFA.

“I get to see agricultural practices in other countries, but when I come home, it gives me new insight into American practices and production and makes me appreciate it,” Halliburton said. “But it also opens my eyes to see how we can change and improve.”

The Slovak students also talked about what surprised them about the United States.

For Fabo it was the friendliness of people he has encountered. “Everyone is so polite and nice. You seem more interested in people,” he said. “In Slovakia we are polite, but we more closed-minded, not so communicative.”

Veronika Vaculová, an SUA doctoral student studying landscape architecture, was impressed with the landscape.

“You have lots of green spaces, and it is more organized with better arrangements. We don’t spend a lot on green spaces. And your beautiful trees were good to see,” Vaculová said.

Vladislav Valach, the director of international programs from SUA, said even though these students have traveled internationally, visiting the U.S. is completely new experience for many for them.

“They get to see how university here works; what’s different and common,” Valach said. “I see them building networks with the students here.”

Valach brought 13 students from SUA to LSU in February 2015, and he said many are still in contact with the LSU students they met.

The students said they will take back many lesson from this trip, but one thing they saw at LSU that they hope to build back home is school spirit, which Fabo described as “crazy awesome.”

“Everyone is living for the same thing – go Tigers,” he said. “You are wearing the same colors, proud of the same team. You’ve created an entire nation of Tiger fans. It is crazy for me. I really like it.”

The LSU College of Agriculture plans to send two students to Slovakia this summer to participate in the International Scientific Days Conference at SUA in May and participate in an international internship there.

AgCenter economist John Westra and John Russin, AgCenter vice chancellor, will be main speakers at the conference, which will focus on topics such as food security, trade, agricultural policy and resource management.

4/21/2016 4:29:40 PM
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