Study abroad instils value of resourcefulness in budding agricultural scientist

16 JANUARY 2024

Study abroad instils value of resourcefulness in budding agricultural scientist

In a town of less than 1,500 people in regional Victoria, breeding American Bison meant Ms Jasmin Campbell-Brown’s childhood was far from ordinary.

Completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science majoring in Livestock Production at Charles Sturt University in 2023, Jasmin’s tertiary education journey has also been unique.  

Jasmin was one of 13 Charles Sturt University students who travelled to the southeast Asian country of Timor-Leste as part of the Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock Education program funded by the New Columbo Plan.

During the two-week immersive program across August and September in 2023, students gained insights into agricultural production and sustainable living in the Asia-Pacific region by engaging with various industries and livelihood activities such as cropping, forestry, fisheries and livestock.

The Corryong local said the experience was as much fun as it was eye-opening.

“Of course, we learned so much about the industry itself, having the opportunity to interact with locals going about their day-to-day lives, speaking with farmers about their unique practices and learning about all these sustainable farming techniques,” Jasmin said.

“But the real takeaway from the whole experience has been witnessing a country that has been through some very difficult times in recent history and managing to turn those few resources they have to create a productive agricultural system that has the ability to support their families and villages.

“This has then taught me to ensure that I am able to see what I already have to use for improvements within farming systems before looking for external resources.”

Different avenues of farming is something Jasmin grew up with, finding a sense of comfort in this shared way of thinking with the Timorese communities.

“Something that is unique about myself is that my family are breeders of American Bison,” she said.

“This made for an amazing upbringing and experience that has allowed me to learn a unique way of farming.

“The animals are very beautiful but very athletic and strong, meaning handling and management is slightly different to your average cow.”

This, coupled with the agriculturally focused community she grew up in, led Jasmin to pursue a career in agriculture.

“Although I haven't worked out exactly what I want to do within the agricultural industry, I do know that I want to be able to help others to ensure that practices and productivity are the best they can be,” she said.

“An important factor of achieving that is to be able to recognise how the agricultural industry differs from country to country, so when the opportunity to travel and immerse myself in the practices and traditions of Timor-Leste became available to me, I didn’t hesitate.”

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the Charles Sturt School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences, Dr Jennifer Bond, also attended the trip and encouraged everyone to apply for these types of opportunities.

“The Timor-Leste trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both the students and myself as we were able to explore agriculture and rural development there in a way that no tourist can do,” Dr Bond said.

“The trip included high-level meetings in Dili and farm tours in the regions to explore agriculture at different scales.

“However, more critically, the trip included visits to key cultural and historical sites such as the Chega! Exhibition, the Timorese Resistance Archive Museum and Balibo, so that students could see the current agricultural context holistically in terms of Timor-Leste’s past.”

Charles Sturt Global programs give students an international experience as part of their degree. From a six to 12-month exchange at an overseas university, to short-term study, faculty-led programs, internships or work placements, there are overseas opportunities to suit every student. 

For more information, visit the Charles Sturt website here or find us on Instagram and Facebook @charlessturtglobal  

ENDS

Media Note:

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Jessica McLaughlin at Charles Sturt Media on 0430 510 538 or via news@csu.edu.au

PHOTO: Ms Jasmin-Campbell-Brown experiencing a farm in Timor-Leste.

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