Agriculture and climate cooperation with Indonesia
In this VIS project, students from Aeres University of Applied Sciences Dronten, study programme Animal and Livestock Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands worked together with students from Indonesia in the context of agriculture and livestock farming. The aim of this collaboration was to introduce students to specific issues regarding agriculture and climate in different parts of the world.
Students were given the assignment to jointly explore the possibilities of countering the effects of agriculture on the climate in different countries and formulate alternative production methods. Alternatives in the field of animal nutrition, manure and processing, cultivation of (roughage) crops, use of water and use of agricultural land.
Colleagues from different participating educational institutions were able to contribute specific knowledge of the region. Students thus learn to gain knowledge with each other and apply this knowledge to different unknown conditions.
Daan Westrik, Lecturer in Animal Husbandry / Consultant International Projects, explains why this was a nice project? What challenges did they encounter? And how did the implementation of this project go?
Background and practical information
- There had been contact with colleagues in Indonesia and we had agreed with them what our ideas were and whether they were possible for them.
- We had previously the idea to collaborate with 2 or even 3 countries. But colleagues in Indonesia were very enthusiastic and the group of students there was large enough. So we limited the cooperation to Indonesia this time.
- In this project, 7 Dutch students worked together with a group of between 14 and 20 Indonesian students.
- The project took about 3 weeks to work on, a fairly short turnaround time.
This project involved 4th-year (Dutch) students following the minor Agricultural development in emerging countries. These students had to analyse an area somewhere in the world (an agricultural area). This could be livestock farming, but also arable farming. Then, based on analysis, they had to identify the problem and formulate a solution for it.
In this VIS project, we paired the minor students with (Indonesian) students who also study livestock farming. Students who are in the Netherlands were paired one-to-one with students in Indonesia, with basically the same assignment. For a specific livestock farming topic, analyse the situation in Indonesia. Identify what development is possible and, together with the students in Indonesia, try to formulate solutions in order to address that problem. Present possible solutions together.
Learn from the project
The most interesting thing for me as a lecturer was that students get to discover what it is like to work with students of a different nationality and different habits and how to communicate with them.
When you have students of different nationalities working together, even language is not necessarily a problem, although it was sometimes difficult. But that the ways of working of Dutch students and that of other nationalities is really a gap and it is necessary to make students more open to that. For instance, Dutch students are very task-oriented. So what is the task, what needs to be done and how can we complete it in the shortest possible time? On the other hand, Indonesian students are more of how can we make something fun out of this or how can we do this in a good way? The drive to actually dive into the assignment was a bit greater there than on the Dutch side. This is a difference that not all Dutch students could handle well.
During the implementation, a lot of e-mails came in from VIS, but that was also good in every way to get clear guidance and courses. However, it was difficult to make time for that and really make good use of it.
The most challenging thing is to build such a project into an existing curriculum. But because we limited it to one assignment, it was reasonably doable and the implementation went well.
What does make sense is to have early contact with colleagues in the other country and build something together.