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South American trip exposes student to international opportunities

Published: 09/16/14 3:58PM
By: booner

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Jasmine Hughes, a senior agricultural economics major from Irwinton, studied in Brazil while participating in the International Summer Experience in Agriculture and Related Sciences Program June 27-July 14.

Jasmine Hughes, a senior at Fort Valley State University, traveled abroad this summer and experienced moments usually photographed in National Geographic Magazine. 

Hughes, who is studying agricultural economics, participated in the International Summer Experience in Agricultural and Related Sciences Program June 27-July 14 in Brazil.

The program is a project developed by Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University and Tuskegee University to expose students in agriculture and related sciences to an international experience. Accompanying Hughes on the trip were four graduate students from Alabama A&M University. As the lone undergraduate on the trip, Hughes said she took pride in representing FVSU during an international excursion.

During her stay south of the equator, the Irwinton native traveled along the Amazon River and observed instructors conducting research on plants and wildlife from the Federal University of Roraima in Boa Vista and the National Institute of Amazonia Research located in Manaus.

Hughes also traveled across the country. She said the most interesting event during her travels was a five-hour tour of the Amazon. She said at first sight, the vast amount of forest and water along the river was intimidating. You never know what to expect, she replied. “At some of the stores we went to, some of the monkeys would be hanging on the walls just staring. That was a different experience for me because I’m not used to seeing that. But, they were very friendly,” Hughes said laughingly. She also watched scientists study animals native to the region such as anacondas, crocodiles, monkeys and sloths.

While reflecting on her experience, the Wilkinson County native said her trip to Brazil caused her to appreciate being a college student in the U.S. She said the higher education opportunities are limited in Brazil as compared to the U.S. Hughes said she recommends students take the opportunity to study in Brazil and seek employment. “They are looking for Americans or students that want to come there and teach and help with research,” Hughes said. She also said she would welcome the chance to teach abroad should the opportunity arise.

Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, Fort Valley State University’s associate professor and program coordinator for agricultural economics, helped arrange the trip. He said by studying abroad and gaining a global experience, students will enhance their learning abilities. “Actually seeing people studying in a different culture helps them (students) shape or reshape the way they think,” Ibrahim said. “My goal is to encourage a lot of ag economics students to study abroad,” Ibrahim said.

For more information about FVSU’s Agricultural Economics Program, contact Ibrahim at 478.825.6815 or ibrahimm@fvsu.edu.