For three professors, five undergraduate and four graduate students, the summer of 2016 was one which they will never forget, and which was enabled by sponsorship from CHS Foundation’s fund for Agribusiness Globalization Education Program. The study abroad group had the opportunity to attend the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) conference in Aarhus, Denmark from June 19-23. The students competed as three teams in the case competition along with 23 other teams from across the globe, including teams from Argentina (2), Australia, Canada (2), China (2), Germany, Qatar, India, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa (3) and ‘world’, as well as six teams from U.S. universities. Mr. Tim Meyer coached the teams prior to their departure and accompanied the group on the study abroad. Mr. Meyer had coached and accompanied a previous group of students to the IFAMA conference in South Africa in 2014.
The students were required to read academic articles showcasing the countries they would be traveling to and through. Dr. van der Sluis, one of the accompanying faculty members, described the articles as “[essential] for students to learn about the history and the impacts history has made.” Dr.’s Evert van der Sluis and Nicole Klein lead these discussions on articles that ranged from information about WWII, to more current events such as Brexit.
One of the most unique experiences the group got to partake in was “Dinner with the Deans.” The Deans of Aarhus University invited the small group of students and faculty over to their homes for dinner. This was an opportunity for students to experience another culture in a personal, hands-on setting.
The students also traveled to Bremen, Germany and parts of the Netherlands from June 24-26 after the conference. While in Bremen the students and faculty toured a small coffee roastery. Established in 1935, Kaffeerösterei Münchhausen stayed open throughout WWII. The group had an intimate tour of the roastery with one of the owners. The roastery has stayed in the Münchhausen family since its opening 83 years ago.
The group’s final destination was the Netherlands. Their travels included a trip to FloraHolland in Aalsmeer, one of the largest flower auctions in the world. Next, they headed to Amsterdam for a “free day,” where students were allowed to visit any part of the city. Many students went to the Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank’s family and other persecuted Jews hid from Nazis in 1942. Other students visited the Van Gogh museum, dedicated to the life and works of artist Vincent van Gogh.
The group returned to South Dakota on June 26, crossing back across the same eight time zones they had just two weeks before. The blog the students shared with their colleagues back in Brookings captured the experiences, perceptions and opportunities for thoughtful and enlightening conversations and discussions that were highlights of the trip.