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SFA students study natural resources in the Netherlands

NACOGDOCHES (10/23/2023)– Exploring a new culture, 14 students from Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture traveled to the Netherlands this summer to learn about the country’s natural resources and horticulture production.

Over the course of the two-week trip, students, inlcuding Stanley Mayhan of Gilmer, traveled through 4 cities while observing history, art, and scenery.

“The Netherlands is a beautiful country with lots of natural beauty and wildlife,” said Brandy Bishop, forestry doctoral student. “There is also a lot of diversity with people from all nationalities.”

Leading the students, Dr. Brian Oswald, Joe C. Denman Distinguished Professor of Forestry, and Dr. Michael Maurer, professor of horticulture provided insight as the students found themselves immersed in several activities.

Students and faculty visited national parks, museums and gardens including the Open-Air Museum, the Anne Frank House and Hoge Veluwe National Park.

“The Open-Air Museum took you through important historical periods that shaped their culture today,” said Bishop. “I appreciated that the Dutch utilized real artifacts rather than replicas in all of the places we visited, especially at the Anne Frank house.”

They quickly drew connections between nature and culture at many of the country’s attractions. While at Hoge Veluwe National Park students biked through hundreds of species of flowers and wildlife.

Additionally, the rich history of the Netherlands allowed students to learn more about the impact of policies and major events.

“My favorite activity was visiting historical sites like the castles, Open Air Museum, and World War II museums,” said Bryan Pace, forestry masters candidate.

From Apeldoorn to Amsterdam, the group enjoyed the sights and appetizing cuisine.

“The food is amazing, with less preservatives than the US, if any,” said Bishop. “There is always fresh bread, cheese, and vegetables available.”

Many of the meals they shared left a positive impression and heightened their experience.

“Don’t get me started on how good the food was, I couldn’t get enough of it,” said Pace.

As they traveled to many popular locations throughout the country, the students found themselves using different forms of transportation as well.

“It took a few days to get the hang of walking or riding bikes everywhere, but it was worth it,” said Rachel Miller, forestry senior.

The trip allowed them to interact with locals and engage in an environment unlike what they might experience at home. By the end of their travels, they returned to the U.S. with a greater understanding of how their areas of study influence more than just their own surroundings.

“I wish I could go back and do it all over again,” Pace said.

To learn more about SFA’s study abroad programs, visit

Enrolling approximately 12,000 students, Stephen F. Austin State University offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 120 areas of study within six colleges – business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. SFA provides the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. Visit to learn more.

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