4-H Young Farmer Prepares for New Zealand AgriVenture Adventure – Cowsmo

4-H Young Farmer Prepares for New Zealand AgriVenture Adventure

Bridget Wilson, like many people, has always dreamed of travelling. She is now getting the oppurtunity to do so. She is the latest reciepiant for the 4-H Agriventure Scholarship. She will be embarking on her journey to New Zealand early October for 6 months. She has chosen her placement to be on a dairy farm, having grown up on one here in Canada

This is all happening through the program AgriVenture. A company that offers the unique experiance for young people between ages 18-30 to travel and work on a farm, in agriculture, horticulture or home managemenet in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Europe & Japan. To find out more information on Agriventure visit their website here.

Below is a letter written by Bridget detailing her experience so far with the program:

Dream Following
‘I have always wanted to travel. But, truth be told, you would be hard pressed to find any young adult that doesn’t dream of exploring how other people live in other places and what it must be like to live in a different climate or be surrounded by a different landscape or live a different lifestyle. At a time when you’re out on your own discovering who you are and who you might become, what you think you want to shape you; you are curious.

I am a rural-raised daughter of dairy farmers having grown up amidst the hills of Celtic Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on the East Coast of Canada. I have lived the life of the average small community kid, always very active in sports and in extracurricular activities at school, right up until this past spring when I completed my Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture, majoring in Animal Science at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus.

It would seem obvious to you given my background, aside from traveling, my dreams have always been of Agriculture, getting close to nature and learning from the people who connect the two. As a long-time 4-H member I was fortunately given many opportunities in this area already. 4-H had gifted me with invaluable experiences meeting new people and learning about Agriculture and its different viewpoints in Wisconsin, Manitoba, across my own home province of Nova Scotia and in the big city of Toronto. So naturally in the Fall of my final year of University I picked up a 4-H AgriVenture Scholarship application sent out by my local 4-H office and sat down to fill out 7 long, detailed pages of information that, potentially, could see me going somewhere across the World to work on a farm and live amongst a different culture.

I had to complete a biography, give details of my work experience, education, public speaking, desired country to work in and desired agricultural sector amongst providing reference letters and recommendations. I hoped after my schooling was done to take part in some sort of opportunity such as that which AgriVenture provides regardless of whether I won the scholarship or not, but I can’t pretend that it wasn’t both a shock and an honour and a thrill when I got the call from Saskatchewan that I had been selected as the National recipient of the 4-H AgriVenture $3000.00 Scholarship. And if that wasn’t good enough, plans were in motion for me to find a placement in my top location in my top program: a dairy farm in New Zealand.

Excited couldn’t even begin to describe how I felt to know that one of my dreams was about to come true, but first there was paperwork to be done. Copies of my passport and driver’s license, more passport photos, an $800 deposit and an interview were in order before I had my final test in an interview. Luckily I didn’t have too far to go as AgriVenture had representatives right on my University’s campus and they werefamiliar faces to boot! AgriVenture regularly sent out e-mails and helped me through every step along the way.

All my documents including my original application form, reference letters and details of my interview were stored on my AgriVenture account online making it easy to track my progress. Once my interview was ok’d my information was passed on to the New Zealand offices so they could find me a suitable placement. Before long I had an e-mail forwarded to me from New Zealand saying they had found me a placement and the only question was if I could start sooner and stay longer. I stuck to my original plan for a 6 1⁄2 month stay from October to April and was soon sent the first details of my host family; a family of four on a 400 cow dairy farm on the Hauraki Plains on the North Island of New Zealand. Coming from a rather smaller dairy farm milking just 50 cows it was interesting to find that all of their breeding and calving was done at once and compared to our small farm which boasts 4 tractors of all different makes, models and sizes, they only had one.

AgriVenture drew on the information I provided in my application form to pair me with a family that sounded equally athletic to my own competitive of family taking part in many sports, they found a location with an active young farmers group noting my career interest in becoming a dairy farmer one day and it was a comfort to know that even though I would be leaving my own dog and four younger sisters at home, in New Zealand I would be living with two young boys and their own dog. I was able to check out a form that my hosts had filled out saying the type of person they were looking for and at the same time I was able to get a good feel for what kind of people I would be living with for half a year. “A good sense of humour and willingness tobecome a part of our family” were words encouraging enough to set aside any apprehension or nervousness I felt about making the big move.

Applying for a Visa was my next step which was both fast and easy to understand. AgriVenture again was with me every step of the way on this front with the application form provided on my account as well as a useful “how to” guide plus further instructions provided by e-mail. Within a few weeks my information went to the New Zealand Embassy in Washington and back to me again with an approved Visa.

It is now July and I’m just a few months away from lifting off to travel to the other side of the World for what I expect to be the adventure of a lifetime. So far I have nothing but praise to sing of the AgriVenture program with regard to its efficiency and support in getting all the little details set up. Lists are scattered all over my house of things to pack and things to see and do in New Zealand.

As a part of my scholarship I plan on writing a blog on my experience and I am working on figuring out how I can spread the word about this program as much as possible. Most of all I can’t wait until the start of October when I start my real AgriVenture story and begin to follow this great dream. I can’t wait to see the farm and meet my host family, I can’t wait to meet new people and see New Zealand soil and pastures and cows and culture. I just can’t wait!’

Bridget Photo


For more information, contact:
Allison Sarauer, Program Co-ordinator Canada
AgriVenture Global
[email protected]

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