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September - October 2020

New Office Hours

The CALS Study Abroad Office is here to assist with all of your study abroad needs through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences! Our office will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm with limited staff.

Global Engagement

David Acker, Associate Dean of Global Engagement, and Ken Stalder, Professor of Animal Science, have renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with Khon Kaen University, Thailand. The MOU establishes academic exchange, cooperation and collaboration in areas of interest to both institutions. Dr. Stalder will be the lead contact.

Ag Biotech Innovation and Seed Systems Development in the Philippines and Africa

CALS Seed Science Center will be leading a project titled “Enabling agricultural innovation for food security and trade: Capacity building for developing seed systems and adopting agricultural biotechnology in the Philippines and Africa.”

Sponsored by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the goal is to develop executives who will drive policy development and reforms in biotech R&D, as well as scientists and researchers with a strong grasp of the role of biotechnology innovations in advancing seed production and trade.

The project has 3 components: online and on-site training of executives and policymakers; virtual and face-to-face training of senior scientists and managers and a training workshop for African biotechnology and seed professionals to be held in Ethiopia.

The 2-year project will be implemented by ISU and external experts on the science and policy applied to plant and animal biotech innovations—from development to commercialization—and seed systems development. Please contact Lulu Rodriguez for more information.

2020 Borlaug Dialogue Registration Now Open

The annual 2020 International Borlaug Dialogue convenes distinguished leaders, advocates, and passionate individuals from various sectors to address cutting edge global food security issues and celebrate the World Food Prize Laureate. Following this year’s theme, “Breaking New Ground: Building Resilience Today for Improved Global Food Systems Tomorrow,”  speakers and participants will address four major vulnerabilities, or “cracks” in the food system: climate change, equity & access, nutrition, and finance & investment. The Dialogue will be featured on the virtual conference platform, Whova, between October 12-16 and will offer exciting opportunities for attendee engagement and on-demand content. 

Register today to take part in panel discussions, roundtable sessions and workshops featuring headline speakers and experts in food and agriculture:

Please contact with any questions.

Save the Date

4:00-5:00 pm
Drop-in Q&A session with CALS Global Programs staff

5:00-6:00 pm
Breakout session for students to talk with individual program directors about specific programs

Meet the Fall 2020 Student Travel Consultants

Name: Megan Behrends
Year: Senior
Major: Agriculture Communications, with a minor in Political Science
Study Abroad Experience: Agriculture Business, Production, and Trade in Spain; Brexit to the UK (classroom portions); and Dean’s Leadership Program to Rome (classroom portions).
Favorite food while abroad: In Spain, it was the paella and sangria

Megan says “Studying abroad is an awesome opportunity to learn more about our world and immerse yourself in a brand new culture.”

Name: Marta Grant
Year: Senior
Major: Agricultural Business and Spanish
Study abroad Experience: Semester in Cáceres, Spain; Travel course to Argentina and the Netherlands
Favorite food while abroad: Marta says “One of my favorite things about studying abroad is trying new foods, and because I can't choose just one, here are a few of my favorites: churros con chocolate, tortilla de patatas, poffertjes, Moroccan mint tea, Dutch pancakes, and empanadas. I can't wait to travel again soon and add some more favorites to my list!”

Name: Jack Hubble
Year: Junior
Major: Agricultural Business and International Agriculture
Study Abroad Experience: Perrotis College in Thessaloniki, Greece
Favorite food while abroad: Gyros with pork, fries, ketchup and mustard

Jack says “After being at Iowa State for a year and hearing about all my peer’s abroad experiences, I decided that I wanted to travel and get something out of it, besides just a vacation…I was able to meet a lot of students from surrounding countries and made good relationships with faculty, both of which are forever lasting friendships.”

Name: Dori Kralj
Year: Senior/Graduate Student
Major: Graduate MBA Student with an undergraduate degree in Animal Science and international agriculture
Study abroad Experience: The UK; Japan & Thailand
Favorite food while abroad: Wagyu Beef in Japan

Dori says her favorite study abroad memory was “judging highland cattle in Scotland!”

Name: Megan Warin
Year: Senior
Major: Agricultural Business
Study Abroad Experience: Argentina Business, Production, and Trade - Spring Break 2018
Favorite food while abroad: beef empanadas! 

Megan says her favorite study abroad memory was “riding horses at the gaucho farm tour, taking tango lessons, and seeing Iguazu Falls in person!

Upcoming CALS Study Abroad Programs

Greece and Italy: Food, Culture and Agriculture
Provides students with a guided exploration of food, culture and agriculture in two Mediterranean countries (Italy and Greece). It exposes students to food systems from production to distribution, to marketing, and policies and regulations associated with the European Union.
May 9 - 20, 2021
Program Director: David Acker
Application Deadline: November 1, 2020


U.S. Pacific Islands - Guam and Hawaii
Students will learn about Guam's history, culture, agriculture, emergency preparedness, environment and public health systems. Enroute to Guam will be a 5-day stop in Hawaii to meet with Hawaii Public Health Systems and University of Hawaii West Oahu and learn about health disparities.
May 9 - 23, 2021
Program Directors: Betsy Matos Catherine Swoboda
Application Deadline: November 1, 2020


Cathedrals, Castles, Culture and Cuisine-sustainable, Safe & Nutritious Food in France
Students will have many opportunities to experience French cuisine and French culture as related to food, and will obtain different perspectives in terms of diet, food production, food preparation, food consumption, and the major role of food in French culture.  Students will also be immersed in French history, and will understand how cathedrals and castles have been, and continue to be, key to French culture and cuisine.
June 6 - 19, 2021
Program Director: Kurt Rosentrater
Application Deadline: November 30, 2020

Our intent is to offer these programs as proposed. However, if the COVID-19 situation does not improve and if travel restrictions are not lifted, these programs will not be offered as proposed. Applying for study abroad programs through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is risk-free. If the proposed program is cancelled, students will not be held financially responsible for the program fee.

You're Studying Abroad and. . .COVID-19

Despite some study abroad programs being cut short by COVID-19, students reflected positively on their  experiences.

I elected to stay in New Zealand when the pandemic struck and am currently in a nationwide lockdown. It’s a decision I’m glad to have made considering the current state of the situation. It’s a bit upsetting to be abroad and have an inability to go out and enjoy it, but I don’t regret coming here. I’ve made a great deal of friends and experienced a lot. The immersion into a different culture is an amazing experience. I’ve realized that there’s a lot more to life than just the Midwest, not only geographically, but culturally. My study abroad experience, while lessened by the virus, has still been an overall positive one.

Caleb Groff, Semester at University of Otago, New Zealand, Spring 2020; Jay and Julie Cornelius Jacobi Scholarship for Agricultural Study Abroad Scholar

My study abroad experience did not have a perfect ending, but it is still notable because the opportunity to speak with livestock farmers in the Kamuli District was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have had both personally and professionally. Through work on meaningful projects to benefit the CSRL and farmers in the area I realized my own career interests more fully. I am excited to invest my time and energy in agriculture, international development, and sustainability in the future!

Grace Jakes, Semester Along the Nile: Learning in Uganda, Spring 2020; Max and Denise Rothschild Undergraduate Student Foreign Travel Fund Scholar

My study abroad experience did not have a perfect ending, but it is still notable because I learned so much about Spain's culture, language, and history, and had the opportunity to build relationships with my host family, fellow ISU classmates, and other students from around the world.

Marta Grant, Semester in Caceres, Spain, Spring 2020; Wanda Cornelius College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment Scholar

CALS Study Abroad Director Q&A . . .Don Sakaguchi

It is extremely fulfilling to see the excitement in the eyes of the students as they climb onboard the boat after a snorkel or scuba dive on the coral reefs. Students have often commented that this study abroad course was a "a life changing experience."

Don Sakaguchi, Morrill Professor in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, has been leading study abroad programs to Roatan and the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS) off the coast of Honduras since 1998.

Why do you lead programs?
This biology course was created to provide students with an opportunity to learn about and experience firsthand a different country, culture and environment. This study abroad program provides a unique field marine biology experience. It’s exciting that so many ISU students have an interest in marine biology and preservation of this critical and essential ecosystem.

What would you say to faculty that are considering leading a program?
Seriously consider participating in and/or leading a program. It’s extremely rewarding though it is also very challenging to organize a program. Most programs are organized by co-instructors.  Dr. Jeanne Serb and I have been co-organizing this program since 2014. However, faculty/staff need to remember that in addition to the “regular” course management issues, you have to think about recruiting students, interviewing students to select participants, travel logistics, and safety issues. Nevertheless, it is extremely fulfilling to see the excitement in the eyes of the students as they climb onboard the boat after a snorkel or scuba dive on the coral reefs. The CALS Study Abroad staff has been outstanding in assisting faculty with planning and logistics, they’re wonderful!

What have you learned by leading programs?
Each time I have taken students to Roatan I have experienced something new and exciting. I have learned a great deal about coral reef ecology, invasive species and marine conservation efforts. Since leading this program (starting in 1998) I have seen the impact of global climate change events and hurricanes and how they can affect the coral reefs.

What has been most memorable about leading a program?
It has been tremendously gratifying to see the excitement in the students’ after they’ve experienced a coral reef for the first time.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, relaxing and spending time with family and friends.

Is there a place that you would like to lead a program, but haven’t?
That’s a pretty long list - Palau, Fuji, Yap, Tahiti, Bonaire, etc….

Why should students study abroad?
It is critically important to gain an appreciation for and to experience other cultures. It is also very important for students to experience new and interesting environments and to learn how they might positively impact preservation of these ecosystems for future generations.

How would you encourage students to study abroad? 
Students’ have often commented that this study abroad course was a “a life changing experience".

Learning Across America

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is providing NEW domestic travel opportunities for undergraduate students. Learning Across America provides students with the opportunity to learn about diverse cultures, food and agriculture systems, natural resources and life sciences within the U.S. The programs will be led by faculty within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and students will earn credit for their participation. Students of any college and major are encouraged to apply for a program. Students interested in a program should contact the program’s respective director.

International Visitors

Hosting Unpaid International Visiting Scholars and Student Interns. There are still a number of restrictions in place for unpaid international visitors and student interns. These restrictions include travel bans by the Iowa Board of Regents and by Presidential Proclamation, requests from the U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program to delay programs to future dates, and suspension of services at U.S. consulates that grant the J-1 visas needed to travel to the U.S.  We will continue to notify you of new restrictions if they arise and when current restrictions ease and/or end. 

Global Update, a newsletter to keep Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty and staff informed of international activities and initiatives, is prepared bi-monthly. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Global Update subscribe" to  To unsubscribe, send "Global Update unsubscribe."