Matt Turner, a 2009 graduate of SFA’s forestry program and owner of Turner Fabrication, is hosting Swedish exchange student Jonatan Jakobsson for one month as a part of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture’s partnership with Älvdalens Educational Center in Älvdalens, Sweden.
Jakobsson, a welding student, is completing his final year at Älvdalens Educational Center, a forestry and hospitality post-secondary technical college. As a part of the curriculum, Älvdalens students are required to complete internships in their field of study. Jakobsson said the partnership between his college and the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture was a great opportunity to travel outside of Sweden and learn more about his trade.
“It’s a beautiful state, and I wanted to see more than Sweden,” Jakobsson said.
These cross-cultural connections facilitating student growth are a large reason why Älvdalens and the college of forestry forged the relationship.
“In many ways our students can benefit from this exchange,” said Ing-Marie Bergman, manager for marketing and internationalization at Älvdalens. “They will learn about another country, get to experience another culture, andgain better appreciation of other cultures as well as their own.”
Jakobsson will spend August 15 to September 15 observing the daily operations at Turner Fabrication and learning more about the business from Turner. Turner, who also holds a degree in manufacturing engineering, said he hopes to show Jakobsson more about how the business world operates because the transition from school to the working world can often be difficult for students.
The whir of machinery at Turner’s fabrication shop stands in contrast to the forests of east Texas in which he studied as a student at SFA, but he still maintains close ties to the faculty.
“We’ve known Matt as a student, a colleague, and a friend,” said Dr. Hans Williams, associate dean of SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry.
Turner’s history with the college and his local metal fabrication business presented the perfect opportunity to provide a valuable experience for Jakobsson, Williams said.
This summer, five SFA students also visited Älvdalens, Sweden where they learned about Swedish history and forestry practices.