Qianqian Fan  |   2nd Year Master's student from China  |   Crop Science

The Defining Moment

The decision to come to America for my master's degree was a defining moment in my life. Here in America, I have met so many friends from different countries, including Chile, Turkey, Brazil, and Thailand. The different attitudes they have in terms of how they see the world or deal with difficulties gives me inspiration, and helps me broaden my own horizon. Thanks to this experience, I can see more potential in myself. I have learned to dream big and believe anything is possible.

Motivation Behind the Move

Agriculture is very important to all cultures. It has changed history and the way humans interact with the Earth. However, agricultural development is facing great challenges. Issues like global warming, water scarcity, and environment pollution all threaten our way of life. I want to contribute to the sustainable development of agriculture, which is why I chose crop science as my current major. My master's program involves comparing the responses of different annual forage species under deficit irrigation, in order to select the species with the best ability to handle drought and still produce forage with high production and high quality while using less water. Hopefully, in the end, we can solve the problem of forage shortage during dry periods and conserve water at the same time.

The Language Barrier

The biggest challenge so far has definitely the language problem. I seldom speak English in China. Plus, the second day I arrived in America, I came straight to the experiment station and I was the only student there speaking Chinese. It was a totally new environment. I needed to ask for help for almost everything because there were so many things I didn't understand. You can imagine how helpless I was then. But in order to get the help, I had to open my mouth and speak. So I spoke. Even if my oral English was not good, I still kept speaking and communicating. And the local people I met were all super nice and super patient. Gradually, communicating is not a problem for me any more.

Aiming for Academia

My ultimate goal is to teach in a university. AgSci is like the bridge helping me get there. I will need to master professional knowledge and also professional research skills, which is exactly what I am learning in my master's program. AgSci has helped me to lay a good foundation, and also helped me to broaden my horizon and encouraged me to dream big. I thank AgSci for giving me that confidence!

An Amazing Internship 

In 2013, I helped investigate the impacts of the Subsidy and Incentive System for Grassland Conservation on rangeland restoration and herder's livelihood in Gansu city of China. We visited the herders to conduct questionnaires, and then organized and analyzed the data. Then we submitted our report to the Agriculture Ministry of China and gave a presentation to local government officials and university teachers. There were twelve students from different majors, and we lived together for almost two weeks. I made so many friends and learned so much about the local culture. 

Advice for New Students

Learn to use the resources that OSU provides. And whenever it feels too hard to deal with something, both in study or in life, try to ask for help from a related department.