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How beneficial are study abroad programs when pursuing a degree in food science?

I'm interested in studying abroad in college, but I would like to know how beneficial these programs are to food science. Is studying abroad more than once helpful too?

#food #food-science #science #study-abroad


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Lauren’s Answer

This is a great question. While I was in school (graduated two years ago), I was really worried about whether studying abroad would pay off in the long run. I studied Environmental Science with a focus in Food Sciences/Agriculture. I didn't end up taking a traditional study abroad opportunity. I found a program at my university that helped me plan a volunteer research trip abroad. So I ended up spending three months in Thailand working with a non-profit that was doing organic rice crop research. It wasn't always glamorous but I promise you, it came up in every single job interview I have had. Relevant to food studies or not.

I believe spending time abroad especially if you can get some good long term volunteer experience, (that's not exploitative to you or the community) will give you great life experience and experience for your future career.

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Terence’s Answer

Firstly, food science is an interesting professional route to follow especially during this era. Its that era where there are growing threats of climate change, and declining food productivity, and an increasing population. People are all what they eat, and with the global food scarcity, you could be on a right place. Food science generally shapes how people in their diversity eats, and you will be directing people on healthy food and nutrition pathways they must follow. The food shortage concerns have gave birth to biotechnology especially genetically modified foods; that constitute major food sources in most developed economies. So, studying abroad, gives you a global viewpoint that is elastic and fits into the future where we are going as a food industry. And that depends from where you are right now. If you are in the United States, there is a lot of economic and cultural diversity here - major precepts you are likely to benefit from studying in the United States. The US is also an economically diverse economy which has almost all cultures, making it a rich profile and relevant area for your personal growth in the food science industry. If you are in USA, you are likely to benefit for the cultural diversity present here. If you are outside the US, that's also good, because you can have the chance to have learning consolidation of all the kinds of cultures in one place. Just my opinion. Good luck on your future profession. Right route...

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Ashley’s Answer

Hi Emma! This is a great question. College is all about experiences in and out of the classroom. Study abroad is absolutely relevant to a degree in food science. Food is a very cultural thing so it is beneficial to emerse yourself in a foreign culture to learn what food means to other people especially how it is purchased, prepared and consumed. As you progress in your classes you will learn that a lot of the food in our grocery stores and restaurants are heavily influenced from other cultures. When you graduate, there is a chance that you will apply for jobs at an international company who is looking for scientists with real world experience and cultural diversity. If your program does not offer a study abroad program, you should seek abroad opportunities in other departments and explore the food scene on your own.


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Jordan’s Answer

While my answer is long after this was posted it may be beneficial to other readers. Any exposure to different food processes is a win in terms of developing your knowledge, skills, and credentials in the food sciences. The more operations and industry professionals you visit the merrier. This applies whether you are at home or abroad. What is most important is whether the processes and networking you'll be exposed to are relevant to your career interests. As long as your program and goals are aligned then it is a good idea. I wish I had done a study abroad! I would recommend a study aboard for a fall, winter, or spring semester so that you can reserve your summers for internships.

Jordan recommends the following next steps:

Conduct informational interviews and take tours of facilities in your area to get an idea of what direction you want to head career-wise
Identify whether the study aboard program will help or hurt your career plans and whether it will hurt your ability to get internships.

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Alexandria’s Answer

Hi Emma! I agree with the previous response! I think the experience of being abroad will allow you to gain insights to other cultures and how they see, feel, and handle food, which are important things to consider when being a food scientist. I also think that being culturally aware and diverse will help you in the long run no matter where you eventually go in your career as every company/job wants people who have different experiences, thoughts, and ideas. Plus, travel and experience new things when you can, especially if your school has the opportunities available. at your fingertips. Good luck!


Getting an internship would be better. Lake Whiting

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Lake’s Answer

This question was posted on a job board - I don't know what's wrong with you people but this isn't a job, it's a question on a website. Very weird.

Lake recommends the following next steps:

Use you own site
to ask questions
This is not a job

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Estelle’s Answer

Emma, my 3 sons studied abroad and ended up in medical school and are now doctors. So I would say that if you are able to pick a program that enhances your degree plan and not just seen as an expensive vacation paid by parents then go for it. Remember, you will be sitting in front of interviewers when you apply for a job after school is over and you would want to use you overseas experience as a positive talking point explaining how it benefited your education and employment at that company.

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Michelle A.’s Answer

Hi Emma,


Food and all of its sub topics are a global issue so studying abroad is a great compliment to your college studies. Studying abroad is one thing that I wish I would’ve done while I was in college so I encourage you to explore your options. Food, farming, nutrition, and food science - the opportunities are endless! Hope this helps

Michelle A. recommends the following next steps:

Research Global Nutrition Programs or Food Science Programs

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Miyoko’s Answer

One must consider not just the narrow or short sided benifits of study abroad. Life is multidimensional, multi factorial and very complex. If we expose ourselves to multiple cultures and make genuine efforts to make true connections with other peoples, cultures and think outside the box. The knowledge gained from study abroad is beyond replaceable. Once seen one can not unsee, in simpler language, many Americans honestly believe that the American way is the only true way to do things. When Americans travel abroad, they often attempt to force their American ways upon others. This is called ethnocentrism , I would highly encourage anyone to research how the region they are traveling to “does things” and try really hard not to be offensive. I will give two examples: In Afghanistan it is extremely offensive to show the bottom of your shoe to someone, it is also offensive to touch someone with your left hand. In Japan, it is highly offensive to leave your chopsticks in your food; likewise it is rude to blow your nose in public. When we travel and learn that we are not the center of the universe and that we do not know everything, also if we open ourselves to learning what others have to teach us outside of a university setting we open our selves to growth. And to steal a line from Dr. Seuss.... “Oh, the Places you will go....” So, are you at an advantage by studying abroad? Yes, yes, yes. If one does it with an open mind, open to growth, and maintain safety while away from home country. Will it help with your absolute specific major? Yes and No. If the person who interviews you is intelligent, then yes. But if the person who interviews you is not so open minded, prejudiced, without the ability to see value beyond the square of the box, then maybe no, and maybe you don’t want to work for that person anyone. Being brave and exiting one’s comfort zone speaks highly for the individual. So I can only think of positive things of study abroad, keeping in mind safety first and foremost. The world is truly your oyster, so get out there and plant the seed to harvest those pearls! Or grab some hot sauce and bon appetite, but don’t rot in your own indecision. I tell my own children, make a decision and own it. Make it yours. Live a life of no regrets. This means, don’t go back and forth “would I, should I, could I?” Make an educated decision and believe in it, don’t second guess yourself. If it does not yield the results you want, readjust your plan, but no regrets. Decisions are made on best information available at the time. One must honor this and move one. Blessing to you and I hope this helps. All the Best.

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Renee Rudloff’s Answer

Any top of study abroad program enriches your future work life. I went to University of Hanover (Germany) while I was not a food science major, it was a requirement to write a paper about all the cultural food aspects. I would say this is an excellent opportunity - who knows? You could be the next great French pastry chef or an Italian chef in the making.

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Miyoko’s Answer

One must consider not just the narrow or short sided benifits of study abroad. Life is multidimensional, multi factorial and very complex. If we expose ourselves to multiple cultures and make genuine efforts to make true connections with other peoples, cultures and think outside the box. The knowledge gained from study abroad is beyond replaceable. Once seen one can not unsee, in simpler language, many Americans honestly believe that the American way is the only true way to do things. When Americans travel abroad, they often attempt to force their American ways upon others. This is called ethnocentrism , I would highly encourage anyone to research how the region they are traveling to “does things” and try really hard not to be offensive. I will give two examples: In Afghanistan it is extremely offensive to show the bottom of your shoe to someone, it is also offensive to touch someone with your left hand. In Japan, it is highly offensive to leave your chopsticks in your food; likewise it is rude to blow your nose in public. When we travel and learn that we are not the center of the universe and that we do not know everything, also if we open ourselves to learning what others have to teach us outside of a university setting we open our selves to growth. And to steal a line from Dr. Seuss.... “Oh, the Places you will go....” So, are you at an advantage by studying abroad? Yes, yes, yes. If one does it with an open mind, open to growth, and maintain safety while away from home country. Will it help with your absolute specific major? Yes and No. If the person who interviews you is intelligent, then yes. But if the person who interviews you is not so open minded, prejudiced, without the ability to see value beyond the square of the box, then maybe no, and maybe you don’t want to work for that person anyone. Being brave and exiting one’s comfort zone speaks highly for the individual. So I can only think of positive things of study abroad, keeping in mind safety first and foremost. The world is truly your oyster, so get out there and plant the seed to harvest those pearls! Or grab some hot sauce and bon appetite, but don’t rot in your own indecision. I tell my own children, make a decision and own it. Make it yours. Live a life of no regrets. This means, don’t go back and forth “would I, should I, could I?” Make an educated decision and believe in it, don’t second guess yourself. If it does not yield the results you want, readjust your plan, but no regrets. Decisions are made on best information available at the time. One must honor this and move one. Blessing to you and I hope this helps. All the Best.

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Robert’s Answer

Study abroad is a great thing to do! It will do a number of things to help you in your career, not least of which is to show potential employers that you are willing to try new things, are flexible, and are able to plan ahead. The study abroad experience will expose you to different cultures, will allow you to see how things are done in different places, and will give you a breadth of knowledge that will be very helpful.

The two downsides that I know of are that it can be expensive, and that you do have to be careful to make sure that you will be able to take the courses that you will need to graduate on time. (talk to your academic advisor about this, and plan out what courses you will be taking when, for the rest of your college career to ensure that you don't lose too much time.)

That being said, you will learn a lot, and will gain skills and a resume that will be very hard to beat. If you have the opportunity, reach for it with both hands, both for the personal and the professional benefits.

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Jackalyn’s Answer

Hello! I was an agriculture major (agribusiness and agricultural communications) I think studying abroad is beneficial for any career path. I studied abroad in China for only six months and I learned so much about myself and the world. I would not be the person I am today without that amazing experience. While there, I also learned about careers and challenges that I otherwise would have never heard of. All of my friends had very different backgrounds and taught me so much.
From a food science perspective, I also learned a lot about food safety and standards in other countries. Not sure what specifically interests you in food science, but I also learned to make a lot of food that I otherwise would have never heard of.
In short, studying abroad at least once is extremely beneficial and I highly recommend it. Best of luck!

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