Honduran students visit Fort Valley State

Published By: Jeff Brothers October 24, 2012

Students visiting from Honduras gather with their professor and Fort Valley State University leaders in front of the Houston Stallworth agricultural research building.

Honduran students majoring in food technology got a glimpse of how what they are learning at home is applied at a university in the United States.

As part of an annual two-week study abroad experience, nine juniors attending the National University of Agriculture (NUA) in Catacamas visited Fort Valley State University all day Oct.23. FVSU focuses on agriculture and conducts research related to food technology.

The students listened to presentations about educational programs, research efforts, outreach initiatives and student opportunities. The students also gave a brief presentation describing their institution, which has about 3,000 students.

In the afternoon, the visitors toured Fort Valley State’s dairy center and U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified meat processing facility. After the tour, students tasted products made from goat meat and goat milk, such as cheese, ice cream and goat jerky.

Janet Espinosa, a professor of English at NUA who accompanied the students, said this visit enabled them “to see things they had never seen in Honduras” and helped “to open up their minds, to what they might want to do in their futures.

Using Espinosa as a translator, the students indicated they enjoyed seeing goats and laboratory equipment, which they don’t have at their school. They also liked the personal attention they received and the strawberry ice cream.

For more than a decade NUA students have been traveling abroad to universities in the U.S., and this was the second time FVSU has been incorporated in the trip.

“I feel that FVSU and NUA have similar goals in that both institutions reach out to students from rural backgrounds and educate them in agricultural disciplines,” said Dr. Govind Kannan, dean of FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology. “We would like to develop a long-term collaboration with their institution to provide opportunities for our students to gain educational experiences in Honduras.”

The students also visited the University of Georgia’s Athens and Griffin campuses, and toured such sites as the Georgia Aquarium and Coca-Cola Center in Atlanta. This week, they are visiting friends and family in the U.S. before returning home Nov. 3. A total of about 150 students from Honduras are studying in the United States in several states, including Alabama, Florida and North Carolina.

The purpose is to improve the students’ English, expose them to educational programs and show them advanced technology. The trips are funded by fundraisers and donations.