Welcome to International Education Week in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida! We’re excited to highlight some of our exceptional international students. In this series, learn about their experiences as international students and how those experiences have shaped their approaches to academics, research, and more.
Today’s featured student is Tingting Gu, a food science Ph.D. student from China specializing in food safety. Through her research, she aims to understand foodborne pathogens’ survival, persistence, and biofouling behaviors on food contact substances. Understanding these behaviors will help her develop strategies to mitigate the pathogens.
Tell us about your home.
My hometown is in the countryside in a very small province. My parents were farmers. I grew up doing farm work and eating fresh, natural foods, and that makes me not enjoy eating processed food. My hometown is located next to the Yellow River which provides irrigation for crops. I see the river as the ‘mother’ and appreciate her contribution over generations.
Is there any connection between what you are studying, your plans after graduation, and your home country?
I feel connected between what I study and real life. I care for people. Food safety is so important to human beings for their safety and health and for enjoying good food without too much concern. In addition to doing coursework and research, I also train students in research and am a teaching assistant (TA). I love these jobs. All of what I have been doing will be beneficial to my future career entering academia or industry.
What challenges have you faced and, as a result, what skills have you gained by traveling, living, and studying internationally? How do you think they will help you in the future?
Group study and oral presentations are challenging. I need to take them seriously and do my best to express my thoughts and ideas as clearly as I can so that people can understand me. I have also learned about teaching through being a TA. These experiences have helped me realize that I love teaching and motivated me to talk about my research like a story.
How can international education help people on both an individual and societal level?
International education has helped me learn how education systems can work so differently. I know more people from different cultures. Also, I have an opportunity to master a new language and use it well. I can be open to new things, broadening my horizons. I am more inclusive. It is a nice experience.
Check out our other features on exceptional international students for International Education Week!
Thank you to FSHN Academic Specialist Chelsea Patrick for gathering student responses.