Living in Taiwan for the past two and a half years has been very rewarding, especially because my university is located in and isolated area free from many distractions. What is special about my university, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, is the environment that surrounds it. For example, mountains, birds, trees, etc., making it so tranquil. Well, at least until the classes start. This peaceful scenario returns to normal at the evening time when all the professors and students leave the University for their Journey back home.

In addition to having one of the biggest campuses in Taiwan, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, offers many courses for the development of the Agriculture sector, as well as many other related fields that aims to bring awareness, proper management and protection of our natural resources and environment. For many of us foreigners who attend this University, the latter are very key factors that are affecting our countries so it is of utmost importance not to take the knowledge from our experienced professors in the department for granted.

One of the departments that form part of the university and help in the process of professionalization and internationalization is the Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation (DTAIC). This department houses most of us foreigners since the courses are taught in English. Every year the department of DTAIC is growing in the number of enrolled students. Diverse forms of cultures, religion and beliefs make up the students that attend this department, coming from different countries in Africa, Central America, South-east Asia, Europe and South America.

The experiences we learn and share with each other is very important because it will help us to grow and appreciate each other especially in the process of adapting to the new country and environment. I guess that we will have our disputes which are normal among family and friends but we should remember despite all obstacles we must stick together and help each other even if the people who are responsible disregard their responsibilities. The latter is something that occurs as time goes by.

At the start of my first year at NPUST, I enrolled in the Plant Science Program. One of my reasons to select this program was that I want to study or acquire the knowledge of how to properly manage the elements of the agriculture sector to produce maximum results and with least effect to the environment. The latter issue requires immediate attention in my country, so it’s one of my objectives to help farmers on my return back to Belize.

So far I am not disappointed with the knowledge I have acquired from professors, they have taught me new technologies and methods to help me in my quest to help farmers in my country. The process of learning this new material is done in two parts, the theory and the practices. 

In the theory segment we learn from the very basic components to the most complex systems that make up the topic we are studying. Being part of the plant science program, we only learn those courses that have plants as its priority. For example, Plant Pathology (plant disease), Entomology (Insects and pest), Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant Propagation, Tissue culture, Botany; all these courses give us a better picture to understand the plant growth process from a seed to the final stage of being a mature tree or crop. What I have to add is that we must keep up with the professor because some of the topics in the course are not simple and requires further investigation on your own initiative so you can better comprehend what is being discussed.

The practices are fun and gives firsthand experiences as to what was being discussed and learned in the theory section of the class. It’s fun because we go to the fields and do something that we like to do. Many times it may require digging, plowing and planting but it will help us realize our objectives of learning and helping others in the future by sharing what we have learnt here. In addition we learn how to make correct decision as to what crops can be planted in different soils, irrigation methods as well as more modern forms for plant propagation.  Most of these ideas we are learning right now, requires little labor and inexpensive material to make thus helping us to economize and not pose a threat to the environment that surround agriculture systems.

 

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