Alexis Agard: Summer in Slovakia

Alexis Agard has more than a few stamps in her passport. She spent the past spring break in Nicaragua with other students in the LSU College of
AgardSlovakia

Alexis Agard, Jaroslav Bazik, Tatiana Pleváková and Patrícia Martišová visit the Arborétum Mlyňany in Tesárske Mlyňany, Slovakia. Agard, a senior in the LSU College of Agriculture, spent part of summer in Slovakia, where she participated in a scientific conference and conducted research on consumer preferences. While there, she spent time with students from Slovakia who visited LSU in AprilPhoto provided by Alexis Agard

Agriculture and has traveled in Western Europe with her family. But she says spending part of her summer in Slovakia was a unique experience. 
 
“It was something different. I had never been to that region of Europe before,” Agard said.
 
Agard, a senior studying agricultural business, attended the International Scientific Days Conference at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia, and gathered data for a research project.
 
The conference was held May 19 and 20 and tackled topics such as food security, agriculture policy and rural development.
 
“Participating in the conference was a great experience. I was able to network and meet a lot of political figures in the area,” Agard said. 
 
The conference was put on in part by the Slovak University of Agriculture Faculty of Economics and Management. Agard attended a reception hosted by the faculty dean, Elena Horská.
 
“There was cultural folk dancing and platters of traditional foods – lots of meat, a whole roasted pig, sausages and cabbage. It was amazing,” Agard said.
 
SUAMascotShe also took an excursion to a sheep farm with a group from the conference.
 
Agard spent the rest of her time in Slovakia working on her research project and visiting towns and cities in the area.
 
Her project is looking at the consumption of animal products in the region.
 
“There is a greater demand for beef now in Slovakia than in the past, and production can’t keep up with demand,” she said. 
 
Agard plans to present her findings at a conference in September.
 
Earlier this year, students from the Slovak University of Agriculture visited LSU as part of a collaboration between the two universities. Agard said some of the students she met at LSU showed her around Slovakia, and she visited one of the student’s family’s poultry farm. 
 
Agard said Slovakia is a growing country, and more LSU students could benefit from studying or living there.
 
“There is a lot of opportunity in that region for young students like us who want to go abroad and share our agriculture knowledge,” she said.
 
Agard found the people in Slovakia friendly and open to her. She said Slovak students were eager to speak English with her and were helpful. She also noted that there is not a lot of diversity in the country.
 
“I was very exotic-looking, and people did find me interesting,” Agard said.