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Students research ag in Ecuador

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Category: research Video duration: Students research ag in Ecuador
Virginia Tech agriculture students spent six weeks in Ecuador working with local partners to survey Andean farmers. They spoke the language, explored historic sites, and got a taste for international development work.
[00:00:05] >> This past summer I spent six weeks completing sustainable development research in the rural regions of the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Completing interviews and getting to know the major socioeconomic characteristics of the communities really gave me a new perspective on the influence of agriculture as the first step of the growth within a country that allows him to get to the next step in economic development. [00:00:26] It was impactful for me, not only from a personal standpoint, but also for my future career goals to work internationally with major governmental institutions to engage and support their needs and goals. Ecuador's main agricultural research organization worked alongside us for the majority of the program and helped us to facilitate cross-cultural communications within the region. [00:00:51] One of the great things about working with partners who were from the Chimborazo area is that they really helped us understand the agricultural systems and the social systems in place in the province. Chimborazo province in the Andes, where we were working, is really pretty diverse- you can see everything from subsistence dairy and potato production to local cheese making to organic vegetable and fruit production, and our partners really helped introduce us to some of the folks who are doing this work. [00:01:24] You've got everything from people who are doing, who are participating in globalized markets on the export market with some value added products to people who are doing things pretty much the same way they've been doing it in that area for 400 years. Structurally things are very different in the United States and it was really eye-opening to get to see how some of those markets and systems functioned. [00:01:47] We were also lucky in that the people in Chimborazo province specifically and in Ecuador more generally are fantastic hosts, they're very friendly and they want to share with you everything that they love so much about their country, whether it's the food or some of the landmarks in the area. [00:02:05] We did have the opportunity to hike Chimborazo, the volcano for which the province is named. It's also interesting because the farthest point from the center of the earth, and it has some excellent views. We also got the opportunity to see some major historical and cultural landmarks of the country, such as La Nariz del Diablo, which we got to explore via train. [00:02:32] Overall, this is an experience that really shaped my future aspirations, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in agriculture, development, or any form of international work or service.