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This is ag: A new language and culture didn't stop Qianhan Le from excelling at Dal AC

Qianhan Le
Qianhan Le - Contributed

By Emma Geldart


Although English is not her first language, Qianhan Le (Class of ’19) certainly didn’t shy from a unique experience: studying environmental studies abroad in Canada. 
Overcoming the language barrier and redefining herself along the way, Qianhan’s graduation from Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, thanks to the opportunities provided by Dal AC’s joint academic program, was quite an accomplishment.
“It was very attractive to me to have a different study experience in Canada,” Qianhan says.
Dal AC’s joint academic program is a partnership through Dal AC and the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) in Fujian Province, China. The program offers FAFU students the opportunity to study abroad at Dal AC. During their first two years at FAFU, students participate in English as a Second Language (ESL), science, arts, and agricultural courses. Of these courses, some are bilingual and taught by FAFU professors as well as Faculty of Agriculture professors. The remaining two years of their studies take place at Dal AC. Students who complete this program will earn a Bachelor of Science (agriculture) degree from Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture and are eligible to become a professional agrologist with the P.Ag. designation through the Agricultural Institute of Canada.
“This program provided me with the opportunity to experience different cultures, meet different people, and most importantly, redefine myself,” Qianhan explains. “The most challenging part for me is to remember some terminology that I have never known before. Sometimes, I still felt confused even when the term was translated into Chinese.”
Despite the language barrier, Qianhan didn’t let it slow her down. Born and raised in Zhejiang Province, China, Qianhan always had an interest in bettering the environment and was drawn to Dal AC’s Integrated Environmental Management program. She was interested in studying abroad and experiencing Canadian culture and had always been interested in environmental management.
“I know people who have knowledge in the area of environmental science or resource management are more needed by current society because we are facing a lot of environmental problems,” Qianhan explains. 
Qianhan recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) in Integrated Environmental Management (IEM). The IEM program offers students training in green science and technology. Students learn about technology, energy, water and waste and gain the skills and experience to create immediate sustainable solutions and address national and global resource management and food production needs.
“My favourite part about this program is having a comprehensive exposure to the core areas of environmental management and necessary concepts,” Qianhan explains.
As part of her degree, Qianhan was required to complete an honours research project. She worked with Dr. Gordon Price, associate professor (Innovative Waste Management Research Program) and Faculty graduate co-ordinator, to evaluate the effect of a starch-based biopolymer and a synthetic polymer on solid-liquid separation of dairy cow manure. Qianhan explored how to manage cow manure with lower energy consumption and environmental impacts at a lower cost to dairy farmers.
“Working on this project, I got to know the basic processes of developing a research project, and I also learned that conducting research is not an easy task. It requires a lot of trial and errors and requires you to have a very strong mind to overcome all kinds of uncertainties.”
Not only did Qianhan work on her own research, she is also the lab research assistant in Dr. Gordon Price’s lab.
“Usually we do sampling from May to November, chemical extraction for soil or plant tissues, water sample preparation, and more,” Qianhan explains.
Qianhan’s experience at Dal AC has certainly paid off. With her passion for the environment, Qianhan hopes to one day become an environmental consultant.
“My goal is to apply my sound professional knowledge of these fields in order to aid the promotion of more environmentally responsible business and government practices,” Qianhan explains. “The program provided me with a comprehensive exposure to the core areas of environmental management. It was certainly worth it!”

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