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Student story Yaêl

Hi! My name is Yaêl and I am a 3rd year International Food and Agribusiness student. In your third year, you get to do an internship or minor (or both) abroad. With IFA you can go everywhere in the world, because everywhere is food production.

What motivated you to choose IFA at the HAS?

Just like everyone I was stuck in 2020. However, I got lucky and got stuck in a caravan on a goat farm for 7 weeks, surrounded by lambs, trying to finish my internship of my previous education. This is where I developed my love for animal husbandry and food production. I always knew I wanted to study something internationally because ever since I was little I said that The Netherlands was too small for me. After some searching for an international program focussing on food production, IFA popped up and I was sold. Just like most 20-something-year-olds, I had no idea what I exactly wanted to do in my life after school. I still had so many things I found interesting or intimidating, how could I possibly know where life would take me?

IFA’s curriculum is so broad, you get to develop new skills and knowledge you never thought you would learn. This together with the great atmosphere between students and teachers facilitates a safe environment where you can learn what you like, and more important for a curious student, what you don’t like. You kind of develop the program together with the teachers along you go. At IFA you are not just a number, from day one you are part of a team of international students and teachers that help you grow into a confident young professional.

IFA surpassed expectations, revealing unexpected interests and talents through its diverse curriculum and supportive atmosphere

Can you share some memorable projects and assignment?

Let’s talk about the projects first, you love it or you hate it. I was the latter. But in every course in The Netherlands, they are part of the curriculum. Being able to reflect on projects and teamwork has brought me a lot of knowledge about myself and how to communicate with others, something very important in your career or personal life.

For my third year internship I decided to go back to my roots, Curacao. On this island, they are around 90% dependent on the import of food and non-food products.  I am currently doing a project where we are researching the possibilities to strengthen the agricultural sector by linking it to the creative sector. The food goes to the people, and the rest goes to us and we are revaluing it by making a product/service out of it. With this, we are trying to enhance Curacao’s self-sufficiency and therefore create new ecosystems that link the social, ecological and cultural sectors.

Looking back on the past years what advice would you give future IFA students?

When I started IFA in 2021, I was fixated on the idea I wanted to do something within animal husbandry. I even was kind of stubborn about it. Along the way, I found out I had so many more interests and talents, in things like system thinking and business development. The program at IFA is designed for you to be able to look at things from a different perspective. Food production and agriculture are much more complex than just farming and production. What happens in the supply chain before you have your much-needed cup of coffee in the morning, is astonishing.

And exactly that is what I find so fun, the challenge of being able to think about all the international factors in this ever-changing environment makes me feel like I could make a difference in this world. My tip would be: stay curious, take your time to figure out what you like and most importantly: never be afraid to discuss with your lecturer if you think differently.