By Fabian Jacob, North Kilkenny Macra
The most spontaneous decision I’ve ever made. I decided I had to go somewhere after college and this opportunity really appealed to me. When I applied for the exchange I was in my last semester studying Dairy Business in University College Dublin. Thankfully, I passed my exams and two weeks after I was heading out to Switzerland for six weeks. I was really looking forward to the break away, and to seeing some new ways of farming. During my stay I was hosted by two of the friendliest families. Although I had no German they both had sufficient English for us to communicate.
During my stay I most definitely learned that the spoken language is NOT essential for communicating with others. Both families were farming and showed me around to other farms after I expressed an interest. I learned an awful lot about the culture and social scene in Switzerland too. We went on trips to many of the tourist attractions in their local areas. In my first family, I was lucky that the children were of a similar age and I attended a concert and some nights out with them. Switzerland is a beautiful country to travel in, and I really enjoyed hill walking in some of the alpine mountains.
We even visited a cheese factory on the top of a mountain!! In Switzerland I met some other exchangee’s from other countries (Costa Rica, Wales, Scotland, USA, South Korea to name a few) at an incoming weekend and also the European IFYE conference. Both were great craic, and I’ve definitely made some life long friends (handy for a holiday in the future). I would highly recommend the exchange to others (even if not particularly interested in farming).
All you need is a slight appreciation for what the family does and be willing to help out. There is something very special about travelling within a country with the locals.