Thirty PhD students and two academic staff from Nanjing Agricultural University in China recently visited the University of Adelaide on a three-week study tour. The students where hosted by local families for the duration of their visit with the homestay experience an important part of the overall program.

The main activity for the students was a program on research communication skills with the English Language Centre, Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) at North Terrace. The Faculty of Sciences and School of Agriculture, Food and Wine also hosted the group at the Waite campus for six days during their three-week stay as their research interests are all in agriculture-related areas.

The students took the Waite campus immediately, “the Waite campus is an open and well-built agricultural science facility. Here you can explore your scientific ideas and get good help from the kind professors,” commented Yannan Shi.

The program at Waite gave the students an overview of our wide-ranging research capabilities and provided an opportunity for them to talk to academic staff and Waite HDR students. They attended the regular Waite research seminars and a couple of sessions of our Australian Wine Industry and Environmental Toxicology winter school courses.

Our plant science, genetics, phenomics and breeding work was highlighted during tours of the Plant Accelerator, Wheat Hub polytunnels, the molecular marker lab, weed science facilities and cereal breeding lab and greenhouse.

Researchers from the Adelaide-Shanghai Jiao Tong Joint Laboratory for Plant Science and Breeding, the China-Australia Joint Laboratory in Soil Ecological Health and Remediation, and the Australia-China Joint Research Centre of Grains for Health presented and discussed their work with the students.

The group visited the Coombe vineyard, winery and wine science laboratory and heard about our wine and viticulture research and teaching programs. When reflecting on this experience, one student commented “I had never seen how to produce wine before, it was very interesting.” Several students also purchased University of Adelaide wines to take home as souvenirs.

A tour of the Waite Arboretum and Laidlaw Plantation introduced them to many Australian native trees and they learnt about the history of the campus at Urrbrae House. The Postgraduate Association of Waite Students (PAWS) also hosted a ‘Chilli ‘n Chill’ lunch for the group to provide an opportunity for the students to meet and chat with local PhD students about their research and student life more generally.

The students were all very engaged during their time at Waite. They asked lots of questions and were eager to talk to the researchers and Waite students, and were genuinely interested in the research and facilities presented. When asked if they would recommend visiting the University of Adelaide to their colleagues a student responded, “Yes, of course. The facilities are wonderful and the supervisors are excellent!”

Thanks to all the academic staff who made the time to talk to the students and show them around their labs or facilities.

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