Hello from a very cold day in the center of Germany. The weather here has been unseasonably cold with a fresh breeze, thick white frost in the mornings and rain in the afternoons. This weather keeps us happily in our warm classrooms and safely away from the distractions of forests and farmland surrounding Witzenhausen and Göttingen.
The first week here in the new Sustainable International Agriculture program was spent half in Göttingen and half in Witzenhausen.
The SIA degree is split in to three major study areas:
- International Agribusiness and Rural Development Economics
- International Organic Agriculture
- Tropical Agriculture
Our colorful group of 35 graduate students representing 15 countries (Kenya, Ghana, US, UK, Germany, Turkey, France, South Korea, Japan, China, India, Argentina…) met on Monday in a large classroom where the Göttingen ‘Studienberatung’ Coordinator introduced our group to the weeks work.
We split up for the first half of the week for intensive bridging courses in statistics, plant sciences, soil sciences, ‘Intercultural Communication’ and other introductions to the various Göttingen systems. Millions of forms had to be filled out to establish our status as students.
Finally most of us went to the ‘Global Thinking Local Responsibility‘ conference here in Witzenhausen which I believe they are planning to have again next year as part of the intro to SIA students.
The week ended with a long potluck dinner and then dancing all night at ‘The Club’ on the Witzenhasen Campus.
There is a general mixed feeling of tiredness, excitement for getting to know each-other and the program and preparedness for the work ahead for all of us.