Two Centre College students took their study abroad experience in Shanghai, China, a step further by incorporating an internship and research opportunity, as guaranteed to every student by the Centre Commitment. This summer, Ellie Davenport ’20 (Louisville, Kentucky) and Melanie Manning ’20 (Richmond, Kentucky) ventured to Shanghai to pursue their own research, after previously studying at other international destinations through the College’s study abroad program. The month-long research experience in Shanghai involved traveling to organic farms to learn about their history and observe organic practice.
The students worked alongside URBridge with the aid of a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in effort to build better relationships with sustainable farmers and to help discover further opportunities in that region.
Manning and Davenport attribute much of their preparation for this trip to the Centre classroom and previous study abroad experiences. Both students traveled to Thailand and Singapore this past Centreterm and Davenport spent the previous fall semester in Shanghai through the Centre-in-China program.
“My time in Shanghai gave me the chance to become familiar with the city, so it was interesting to get to explore some of the rural farm areas surrounding it this time,” Davenport said.
Manning explained that her environmental and anthropology classes helped her better understand Chinese culture and interpret sustainable practices, while Davenport added that her courses with Visiting Instructor of Chinese Ke Yi have helped her feel confident in speaking the language.
Both also commented on their surprise toward the amount of freedom the internship provided to them.
“I really appreciate the freedom that we had in getting to explore the farms on our own. We learned a lot about China’s organic farming culture and formed many good relationships with amazing people,” Davenport said.
The students claim that the most rewarding part of the Shanghai opportunity was the relationships and experiences they gained in their travels.
“Many farmers would invite us in their houses to have lunch or dinner, and we would cook the produce from their farms together and talk. I really am grateful for the freedom of traveling that this internship allowed and for all of the new people that we have met,” Davenport concluded.
by Makenzie Dries ’21
September 11, 2019