International Summer School helps students explore Louisiana Agriculture

November 28, 2022

International students visited LSU’s campus in Baton Rouge this summer as part of International Summer School at LSU, a weeklong exchange. The program is a continuation of a two-year international short program that began in 2019 but was postponed due to the pandemic.  

The program was organized jointly by LSU and Mendel University (MendelU) in the Czech Republic. Both LSU and MendelU students participated in the program. There were 26 students from across the globe, including the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Poland and Thailand. 

Throughout the week, students learned about a broad range of Louisiana agriculture, touring LSU AgCenter research stations and commercial operations. Stops included opportunities to explore horticulture, animal sciences, entomology and food science.  

Jenish Tandel is an LSU student majoring in animal sciences with a desire to learn about other agriculture sectors. 

“I wanted to learn about different aspects in the College of Agriculture, apart from animal science. I wanted to explore all the other fields and see what they have, too,” he said. 

Entomology was a field that Tandel had little experience in before attending summer school, and he felt that he learned a lot by visiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture Honeybee Lab in Baton Rouge. 

“I’ve been learning a lot about how insects are, how they’re preserving that entomology,” said Tandel. “I never knew how they preserved them, and they showed us how they do it in the glass boxes.” 

While some students wanted to learn more about agriculture in Louisiana, others wanted to know about innovative practices in the U.S. that they could apply in their careers. 

Lukáš Košťál, a master’s student at MendelU, is studying landscape ecology. Košťál feels he could take his career in many directions but would like to focus on agritourism and combine what he knows about tourism, ecology and landscape. 

Košťál felt that participating in International Summer School at LSU and learning about U.S. ecology and tourism was not an opportunity he could pass on. 

“Even though this program takes us into more directions than just what I study, I was very interested in how things are done in the U.S.,” he said. “And then I can take different points of view and compare how it is different from my country.” 

Students toured many of the research stations across the state, learning about the land-grant university system and the outreach that the LSU AgCenter has for the agricultural industry in the state. 

Michaela Franková is a MendelU student currently pursuing her master’s degree in food science and food security.  

For Franková having the opportunity to visit rural Louisiana was a unique opportunity that most U.S. tourists do not get to experience. 

“I like how connected the rural part of the state is with the university through the extension programs. We don’t have that, and I think it’s really good,” said Franková. 

One stop was Fleur De Lis Tea Company in Amite City. Here students learned about how tea is being grown in Louisiana. 

“I would never imagine that you could like grow tea under the pine tree. It’s so innovative,” she said. “I think in the U.S., people are really innovative when finding stuff that works. The guy was teaching us that they had to dig some kind of drainage system for the plants. It’s so interesting.” 

Franková chose to attend the International Summer School at LSU to expand her network and build her resume as she approaches the end of her master’s program. 

“I would like to work in some international company where I can meet people from all around the world, and it’s also the reason why I came here,” said Franková. “I just like to make new contacts, meet new people, see new places, and the food industry is so various. In every country, it’s different.” 

LSU AgCenter Global Network plans to continue the international summer school exchange program in the future. 

“This creates a great platform for the exchange of ideas, establishing professional networks, learning, as well as bringing more international opportunities to LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture,” said Ivana Tregenza, associate director of LSU AgCenter Global Network.