International Agriculture Certificate students gather to share stories and advice

By for CAES News

Over the 25 years that the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has offered its Certificate in International Agriculture, more than 125 certificate students have traveled to dozens of countries throughout the world to conduct internships with UGA partners.

While all certificate students have similar international interests and experiences, they tend to complete their certificate programs individually. They have not had the benefit of a community where they can get together and share those experiences until now.

The Office of Global Programs hosted the first International Agriculture Certificate Student Night on Sept. 1 in an effort to the give certificate students the chance to network and get to know one another.

The event provided an opportunity for students in the program to share a meal, travel stories, advice and encouragement.

“We are excited to bring this group together to help build a community of exceptional and internationally minded students within CAES,” said Vicki McMaken, associate director of the CAES Office of Global Programs. “These students are working hard to internationalize their degree programs at UGA and can provide support and inspiration to one another. Our certificate students end up in some really exciting careers after graduation, and we hope that better connecting them while they are at UGA may encourage networking among certificate alumni in the years to come.”

Students got to swap stories during dinner, and then the college showcased the work of standout international students.

Rachel Wigington, who is pursuing her master’s degree in agricultural and environmental education, presented about her summer internship in France working on a community garden project, and agribusiness student Chris Reynolds shared about his horticulture-focused internship in Morocco.

Students spent the remainder of the evening in small groups brainstorming ideas for potential group service projects and plans for future networking events.

CAES works continuously to make sure students have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning activities during their academic career.

These enrichment opportunities are designed to give students real-world experience that broadens their horizons and makes them more marketable to employers when they graduate. By the 2016 fall semester, every college within UGA will be required to provide experiential learning opportunities to their students. Until then, students can find these opportunities readily available to them now in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The Certificate in International Agriculture offers students a unique opportunity to internationalize their degree program while learning about international agricultural issues and to gain firsthand experience living and working abroad. Consisting of foreign language study, internationally relevant coursework, and an international internship, the certificate’s curriculum requirements are flexible and can be arranged to fit each student’s particular interests.

Students participating in the certificate program concentrate on a specific country or region of the world. They gain knowledge of a relevant language as well as an understanding of the environmental, social, political and cultural issues in that part of the world.

For more information about study abroad programs offered through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences or the Certificate in International Agriculture, visit

Samantha Anderson is a student writer with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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