Elizabeth Awoyungbo

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

College: College of Agriculture  

Major: Agricultural Economics with a concentration in Sales and Marketing

Follow Damola's blog while she's in Austria

As a Nigerian, my parents have always stressed the importance of knowing our roots and remembering our language so that we can pass it on to the next generation. Growing up in America definitely made this more difficult for my siblings and me. We faced a language barrier in speaking Yoruba at home and trying to learn and master English in public. Thankfully, America is receptive of other cultures and the education system is extremely helpful with culture integration. I see two versions of myself: Nigerian Elizabeth and American Elizabeth, and I wish to add Austrian Elizabeth. I chose Vienna, Austria because it is the New York City of America and the Lagos City of Nigeria: the ultimate cultural bouillabaisse. Through my research, I have found that the Nigerian community and culture is deeply rooted in Austria. From the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna to the Nigerian Ankara Festival celebrated annually in Graz, I am astonished and curious. My curiosity has grown since I’ve learned that I have extended family members in Vienna with children who not only speak English but also Yoruba and German. I believe that studying in such a multi-cultural country will allow me extend into a new facet of what I already have, and help me to develop a more holistic outlook on what’s important to Nigerians and various European nationalities who live in Austria. 

Before applying for my program, I was uncertain about the country that would cater to my interests and individuality. The University of Agricultural Sciences (BOKU) offers many courses that focus primarily on agriculture and food science. My interest in the field of agriculture has a lot to do with my need to change the future of food scarcity in countries that are lacking such a vital resource. ‘Food Biotechnology’ and ‘Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries’ are two interesting courses that I’ll be taking abroad. The first course is intended to teach students about the contribution of classical and modern biotechnology to the production of food (and feed) and food ingredients.  The second course explores the socioeconomic and “why” factors that cause low food production from poor land sustainability in developing countries. Outside of class, I plan to be involved in the community by volunteering with Wiener Tafel and join their fight against poverty!

Studying abroad in Austria will be a supplement to my field of study and exemplifies how I want my academic and career goals to align. My professional goal is to eventually become Director of Sales in a food and agricultural based company. I am a business oriented individual with an interest in an issue that matters worldwide and even here in America. I believe that the knowledge base and connections I’ll make through a career in sales will be vital and extremely valuable in building the foundation for my food scarcity philanthropy.  Studying in Austria is another stepping-stone in building my network, a gateway into Europe’s food and business culture and a means of increasing my awareness on food sustainability across the globe.

Read about Damola's Gilman experience here.

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