Fort Valley State students learn import-export methods in China

Published By: Russell Boone September 30, 2016

Tourists traverse the Great Wall of China in this photo taken by Dr. Jacques Surrency as he accompanied two FVSU students on an educational trip to Beijing and Xi'an.

China, the world’s most populated country with more than 1.3 billion people, recently received visitors from Fort Valley State University.

Emanuel Ryan IV, a native of Baxley, Ga., is a junior and Tianna Goodman, who hails from Perry, Ga., is a senior. Both are agricultural economics majors in FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology.

From July 31-Aug. 9, the two students visited China as part of the Langston University Center for International Engagement and Development Project. The purpose of the project, a collaboration between FVSU, Langston University and Virginia State University, is to improve student’s knowledge in areas such as international import-export commodities, leadership capabilities and international agriculture.

Dr. Jacques Surrency, professor of plant and environmental soil sciences, accompanied the two students on the trip. He teamed up with professors from Virginia State University and Langston University to secure funding for the Asian excursion  by obtaining  a $91,564 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services International Service (APHIS-IS) and the USDA’S Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The traveling party stayed in two cities, Beijing and Xi’an. In addition to gathering information about how goods are imported and exported between China and the U.S., they visited such venues as the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors Museum, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the China Oil and Food Company (COFCO)’s Institute of Nutrition and Health and the U.S. Embassy.

Goodman said visiting the Great Wall of China is an experience she will always cherish.

“Not many people around here can say that, and I’m super excited that I can actually say I visited the Great Wall of China,” said the FVSU senior.

At the U.S. Embassy, the group met several USDA and APHIS-FAS trainees who shared their work experiences in China as well as the U.S. Ambassador to China, Max Baucus.

“He was very gracious and humble,” Goodman said describing her encounter. “He gave us some great advice on our career paths and what we should do as far as school and getting our masters (degrees),” the Perry native said.

Goodman highly recommends students travel abroad for an educational experience. “If you have the opportunity, then go,” Goodman said.

“We had the opportunity to go to different companies and see the different processes of exporting and importing from China to the United States,” Surrency said. The FVSU professor said the trip could open avenues for FVSU students to gain internships with companies in China. Surrency said he hopes this will help students gain full time employment with APHIS and the USDA in the import-export field.

For more information about the trip to China, contact Dr. Surrency at (478) 825-6362 or send an e-mail to