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Food science major returns to France

by on February 24, 2013 2:31 PM

Penn State senior Meghan Kane visited France not once, but twice through programs offered by the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A Food Science major with a minor in French, the Maple Glen, Pa., native enrolled in an embedded course last year that focused on U.S. and French agricultural systems. This year she was asked to participate as a teaching assistant for the course.

Kane and her fellow students spent two weeks learning firsthand in France after the fall semester was over.

"The goal of the course was to examine the horticultural food science, farm-to-fork processes, marketing and manufacturing, and policy and legislation of each country," Kane said. "The students learned about each of these aspects by focusing on four case studies on cheese, wine, strawberries and canola seed."

Her role was to teach students basic French lessons before they arrived overseas. "I was a kind of liaison," she said. "Before we left, I taught them things like how to introduce themselves and how to order food. My goal was to prepare them before they arrived so they would be able to get the most out of their experience."

Once they were in France, Kane helped translate and was a tour guide of sorts for the other students.

During their two-week stay, Kane and the other students visited a research center, where they heard presentations explaining French perspectives on their own agrarian systems. They also took trips to the Kitchen Gardens and Castle at Versailles, as well as other museums and monuments around Paris.

The class also visited the Rungis Market -- the largest wholesale market in the world -- stopped at an organic farm where they learned about French farming practices, and visited the Perrier and Vazart Coquant champagne houses.

"It was a great experience," Kane said. "It was satisfying going back a second time because I got to see a lot that I hadn't the first time. I just loved being able to practice my French and learn more about the culture."

For more information about the Food Science major, go to http://foodscience.psu.edu/majors.



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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