Student experiences

Oliver Corbett on placement

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5 March 2014

Oliver Corbett made the most of his placement year, spending time in both America and East Africa, exploring different cultures, workplaces and styles of education.

The 27-year-old spent the first six months in Tanzania, East Africa, working for the soft commodity trading company, Armajaro Trading Ltd. “I was the Joint Processing Manager of a processing facility in the bush. I was responsible for a staff of 30 people, involved in procuring cherry coffee, the intake and weighing of goods, and quality analysis. I was directly interacting with coffee agents, transporters, staff and district government agencies. It was so valuable to be working in a culturally diverse country, within a developing economy.

“I also spent two months in Dar es Salaam at an export warehouse, dealing with procurement, port and clearing agents, and bulking to roasters specification.”

Oliver relocated to Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, for the second half of the year, and an entirely different culture and lifestyle, bringing new challenges and experiences.

Harper Adams is part of a student exchange programme with Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, a publicly-funded college within the private Ivy League university, and consistently ranked as one of the best colleges of agriculture and related sciences in the world.

“I studied Issues in Social Biology, Sustainable Soil Management, Plant Growth and Function and Mysterious Moulds and Magical Mushrooms (Mycology)” says Oliver. “Cornell was a great experience, meeting students from across the USA and Canada, as well as Brazil, Italy, Africa, France and other countries.

“The courses were very good, interesting and led by world leading lecturers. Facilities on the campus (about four hours from New York and Boston) were second to none with 5,000-seat stadiums, four gyms, and a cinema. The local town was small but there was a lot to do and the social life was good, with loads of stuff to get involved in.”

Oliver, who hails from Montgomeryshire, mid Wales, has gained so much overseas experience – including studying modules with an international focus – that upon graduating he will be awarded a BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management (International) to reflect the special nature of his degree.

Now in his final year Oliver has been focussing on his honours research project on the allelopathic effect of marigold plants on potato cyst nematode populations, and looking forward to building an overseas career once he has finished his final exams. 

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