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K-State College of Agriculture: Where professional focus blends with industry experience

“…with the peaceful environment of the Midwest, the reasonable living and studying cost around here, as well as the reputation of K-State, the College of Agriculture easily stands out among many options…” – Youwei Yang, K-State College of Agriculture graduate

The College of Agriculture at Kansas State University (K-State) provides a globally-relevant education in the agricultural disciplines. This specialized institution is nestled in the north-eastern city of Manhattan, Kansas – otherwise known as the ‘Little Apple’. This bustling region makes its home in the sumptuous Flint Hill pastures, and this year earned its place among the top 100 places to live in the United States.

The College of Agriculture represents a lively hub for those who aspire to cultivate the earth and its resources, supplying a connected and global population with crucial fabric and food produce. Here, students are trained to innovate their field, becoming recognized leaders in all things relating to the crop production, education, animal and research industries.

“Ever since I was a child, I was interested in animals,” says Pablo Gonzalez, a K-State Animal Science student originally from Paraguay.

“Even though I do not come from an agricultural background, that never stopped me wanting to study something related to agriculture,” he adds. “Ever since I arrived in Manhattan, I have been amazed by the faculty members of my major. Being part of their classes and feeling how committed they are to teaching gives me incentives to keep studying – even though sometimes it can be hard to be far away from home.”

Homesickness is one of the biggest hurdles non-native students can face when studying abroad. Moving to a new country and absorbing a new culture can be a shock, but K-State does everything it can to ease this huge transition. Here, support services, experienced staff and like-minded peers are all encouraging and accessible when it comes to guidance and advice, assisting with diverse matters of concern – from your workload to your campus life and even your career.

Dr. Cassandra Jones is my advisor,” states Gonzalez. “She has been supporting me in my current decisions, not only regarding the study of Animal Science, but also in doing a minor in Agricultural Economics and a certificate in Feedlot Management,” he says. “I could not be more grateful to her or to the College of Agriculture for giving me the opportunity to learn what I have always loved.”

But the perks do not stop there, with K-State also offering a wealth of financial aid packages and incentives for global student applicants. Among the international student population, worries about affordability and the overall cost of tuition stand right next to missing life back home – with prospective students often citing their financial situation as one of the biggest deterrents when deciding to study overseas.

But with 70 percent of students earning financial assistance in their time at K-State – either through scholarships, bursaries or other forms of aid – it is hardly surprising The Princeton Review has named the university as ‘tremendously affordable’.

“I am part of a program that’s called the Paraguay-Kansas Committee,” Gonzalez explains. “This program allows Paraguayans to pay in-state tuition at several Kansas universities. I saw this as a great opportunity to study in the United States.

“I ultimately chose K-State because it was the best suited to what I was looking for as a major,” the student adds. “It feels like a challenge for me to get out of my comfort zone and receive a better college education than I could get back in my home country.”

And when you consider that K-State itself has been ranked number six among the best-loved colleges in the US, as well as number six for hosting the happiest students, Pablo is by no means alone in his claims. Youwei Yang, College of Agriculture graduate, originally from China, echoes these positive sentiments.

Youwei Yang

“I actually didn’t know much about career prospects and graduate destinations before I studied at K-State,” the former student notes.

But while many overlooked the wealth of possibilities open to international student graduates, Yang maintained a steady head throughout his education. In a world where experience and industry insight mean everything to the prospective employer, K-State and the College of Agriculture work hard to instil these skills in all aspiring minds.

“Several of my Agricultural Economics classes brought in guest speakers and information sessions which helped improve our understanding of career options,” Yang explains. “My academic advisor, field club, professors and research group mentors all encouraged me to pursue practical experience which helped me build my way up.”

Yang is the perfect example of how K-State’s expert guidance leads to real-world application. Upon completion of his course, the graduate won a sought-after role as a Market Intelligence Analyst with INTL FCStone Inc. in Kansas City. After serving with the company for more than a year, gaining invaluable industry experience, Yang left to pursue full-time PhD study in Food and Agriculture Economics at Cornell – both feats he never could have hoped for without the help of K-State.

“The connections I built at the College of Agriculture continue to support me throughout my career, guiding me with the technical aspects I needed to succeed,” he says. “My coursework, extra-curricular activities and research experience helped develop my skills in communication, critical thinking, problem solving, networking and strategic planning, which were crucial to my analyst job at INTL FCStone.

“In terms of my role as a PhD student, I greatly appreciate that members of faculty were very open to providing opportunities for me to follow them in research and guide me with my own.

Youwei Yang

“As of studying abroad,” the graduate concludes, “the safety, affordability and academic rigor of a university and college always come top of my consideration list; with the peaceful environment of the Midwest, the reasonable living and studying cost around here, as well as the reputation of K-State, the College of Agriculture easily stands out among many options.

“Overall, K-State has prepared me very well with both my industry career and current graduate study – I am incredibly thankful to all who have helped me reach this exciting stage.”

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