Dakota Farmer

SDSU students head to Vietnam

Read the adventures of the 2024 SDSU Vietnam Ag class as they travel abroad.

June 18, 2024

4 Min Read
The SDSU Vietnam Ag class visits the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi
DAY ONE: The students enrolled in the SDSU Vietnam Ag class visit the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi on day one of their trip. Photos courtesy of the SDSU College of Agriculture

An overseas adventure started for South Dakota State University students on May 6. But this trip wasn’t for fun — it was the Vietnam Ag travel class, taught by Russ Daly and Bob Thaler. A total of 24 students visited the U.S. Embassy and the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, met with the U.S. Grains Councils and U.S. Meat Export Federation, planted rice by hand, and visited multiple other farms and landmarks.

In this five-part series, read about adventures written by the students themselves, and learn more about the agriculture industry in Vietnam.

Days one through three

At 8 a.m. Monday, May 6, students surged from excitement as they waited for their flight to depart South Dakota. After their travel time, the group arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam. Students Cathy Bauer and Hannah Bates wrote this about their first few days on the trip:

“The day started with our first look and Vietnamese cuisine with a hotel breakfast, fresh juice and coffee. Several of us made a few rounds around the block of our hotel to see Hanoi in the daylight. Vendors were selling flowers and fresh fruits while traffic bustled through the busy streets. At 9 a.m., we gathered in the lobby for departure to the U.S. Embassy and saw lots of French architecture throughout the city during our drive.

"At the Embassy, we had a chance to listen to Foreign Ag Service (FAS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) people about their hiring processes, their jobs, international relations and increasing markets for U.S. ag products. These employees work within the agriculture sector internationally to ensure the cooperation of trade between the U.S. and Vietnam.

"The funny thing is that the APHIS person got her master’s degree at North Dakota State University, but she was very good, and we still enjoyed her (go Jackrabbits!). We were also fortunate to have someone speak to us about Fullbright English Teaching Assistant and Graduate Research programs in Vietnam that we could apply for if we want to work in Vietnam after graduation.   

"Lunch was held at the 5 Spice Restaurant, where we enjoyed an array of food and drink. Several of us ordered fresh juice, milkshakes and even lassi. Our meal consisted of noodle soup, spring rolls, papaya and mango salad, fish, pork, rice and a dessert of bananas with orange sauce and coconut over vanilla ice cream. It was certainly a delicious meal that has everyone excited for all the flavors Vietnam has to offer.

Professor Ton at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture welcomes SDSU students to the campus

"Next, we drove through the city to get to the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA), where both staff and students met us in a large room for a sort of conference. We all sat in a mixed formation so that both SDSU and VNUA students could talk and interact with each other.

"We learned about their university, and they learned about ours. We also did a little Vietnamese culture quiz and played a few games together in order to form relationships with other students.

Professor Ton at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture welcomes SDSU students to the campus

"We had the privilege of seeing the VNUA campus and a few labs that they have in veterinary science, animal science and biology. It was interesting to see how their equipment and processes differ from ours at SDSU. The VNUA students showed us around their campus and walked us through a nearby market before we headed to a big banquet that was served family style with even more new and delicious food. Dessert was fresh and very good watermelon.

"It was a great first-day experience in Vietnam, and many of us made new friends that we will carry with us for a lifetime.”

Members of the 2024 South Dakota State University Vietnam Ag class wrote and contributed to this article series.

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