Study Abroad Leads to Lifetime Impact

When Joshua Knoll left for Japan last October, he never imagined his brief trip would produce such a long-term effect ...

March 31, 2017

Joshua Knoll in Japan, where his life was changed at an International Student Summit on Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

When Joshua Knoll left for Japan last October, he never imagined his brief trip would produce such a long-term effect in his life.

Knoll represented MSU at the International Student Summit on Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and then opted to stay an additional week. The Comprehensive International Education Program is the student food security session that takes place after the conference.

“It’s optional, so there were fewer attendees, but it had a solid group of international scholars,” Knoll said.

During the International Summit, students from around the world present papers on agriculture and natural resources’ topics; his presentation considered how land sharing is superior to land sparing.

“My presentation was about land sharing – or utilizing land for ecology as well as farming, and why it is, generally, a superior practice to land sparing, which is the separation of agricultural and ecological land, which usually leads to intensification,” he said.

Interacting with students from around the world provided him a glimpse into his future.

“I got to know an incredible cohort of students from around the world and gained a lot of cultural and intellectual insight from them,” he said.

Knoll already has plans to partner with his counterparts across the globe on a research project, possibly even studying abroad for graduate school to broaden his international exposure.

“I returned with a renewed desire to help promote intercultural exchange on campus and to push for collaborations among students from diverse backgrounds – to share ideas and figure out solutions to tough problems. I am partnering with others to look more closely at food insecurity and poverty,” Knoll said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with MSU’s diverse student body in seeing this vision through.”

What’s the most important thing he learned?

“The most important thing I learned is that problems like climate change and food security cannot be solved by one nation alone,” he said. “All must participate to prevent serious repercussions. It may sound cliché, but it is true that we can't do it alone; and it’s even more true when it comes to nations.”

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canr.msu.edu/inthefield

This article was published in In the Field, a yearly magazine produced by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University. To view past issues of In the Field, visit www.canr.msu.edu/inthefield. For more information, email Eileen Gianiodis, editor, at gianiod1@msu.edu or call 517-355-1855.

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