CAHNR takes students to Ireland in May

Ireland is the perfect location for CAHNR students to participate in education abroad and to receive learning beyond the classroom, according to two faculty members who are taking a group there this May.

CAHNR’s education abroad experience includes a one-week stay in the Irish countryside.

Professors Sheila Andrew, of animal science, and Sandra Bushmich, of pathobiology and veterinary science, are leading the new three-week UConn Global One Health: Irish and US Perspective education abroad program. They noted that this opportunity offers three UConn graded credits in a beautiful place with no language barrier for under $5,000.

Study animal, human and environmental health
Being able to compare and contrast how the One Health concept is implemented in two different cultures is a plus, as well. “We are excited for our students to gain an in-depth understanding of how our food systems are closely tied to human health and environmental sustainability. Visiting Ireland will provide the students not only a comparison to US food systems, but also an opportunity to experience a vibrant culture in a beautiful country,” Andrew said.

The group will be small and stay together for three weeks, which will allow for meeting others with similar interests and for easy access to hands-on learning. The students begin the program in the United States on May 15.


Professor Bushmich rides out to a salmon fishery that students will visit as part of the Ireland trip.

Begin in the United States
The first week includes discussions with New England regional experts from government agencies and academia as well as visits to food production and processing sites. For example, the students will hear about water quality and environmental concerns related to dairy farming and aquaculture, cultivating seaweed as food for humans and health issues surrounding the importing and exporting of animals and food products.

Andrew and Bushmich are especially excited to have an Irish native, Brian West, MD, to speak to the group. West is professor emeritus of and senior research scientist in pathology at Yale School of Medicine.

Continue on to Ireland
Then, it is on to Dublin, where the group will tour food processing sites and distribution centers while studying the Irish and European Union approach to One Health. Students will learn about the governmental policies Ireland has adopted to ensure a safe and high quality food supply.

In the third week, education abroad students will continue to explore cultural and regulatory differences between the two countries with the green countryside and Atlantic Ocean serving as the backdrop. Andrew and Bushmich said they want students “to observe and participate in traditional Irish methods of food production, which are viable and sustainable examples of One Health.” Bushmich added, “The students will love it.”

In addition, the participants will see how salmon producers and farmers excel at tracking an individual animal throughout its life cycle to monitor vaccinations, animal health issues and trace back of food products.

dairy farm
Professors Bushmich and Andrew stand in front of a dairy farm in Ireland, which was on the itinerary of their exploratory trip.

The professors’ site visit to prepare for the program included this “heart of Ireland” where food production starts. The two will return to the same Irish marine fisheries and dairy farms with the student group, who will get “a good sense of how food moves from farm to table,” according to the professors.

Find out more
The UConn Global One Health: Irish and U.S. Perspective education abroad program runs from May 15 to June 3, 2017 with the first week in the United States and the second two weeks in Ireland. The deadline for students to apply is March 15. Decision day is March 25 with up to 10 UConn students accepted. Students receive three UConn graded credits. The cost is $5,000.

A syllabus is on the education abroad section of the CAHNR Academic Programs’ website. More information is available from the UConn Education Abroad website or at the March 1 Spring 2017 Education Abroad Fair in the Student Union Ballroom.

By Patsy Evans