Working abroad, whether on a placement or as a full-time job after university, can be incredibly valuable for a graduate’s career. It's a great way to increase confidence, independence and motivation. You can gainintercultural experience, learn a local language, and develop an international network of contacts.
“I was a dairy trainee on a farm in Southland, New Zealand during placement,” says Lauren, who graduated in 2016 with a BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science. “I was placed there through AgriVenture. It was a 600-cow dairy farm with cows outdoors all year round.
“I fit into the community out there really easily. I played football for a local team. I even got roped into playing touch rugby and bubble football! I learnt so much on the farm and decided that the dairy industry is where I saw myself making my career.
“The things that I learned in that first year in NZ – better communication and self-confidence were probably the two biggest - have given me enough of a basis to take a graduate job out there, which I found through the friends I made on placement. We always joked about me coming back to work for them and when the opportunity arose I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I loved NZ the first time and didn’t want to leave, so heading back there to a job better than the last one, as dairy herd manager, with more responsibility and the option to keep climbing the ranks seemed like an obvious choice.
“Being a graduate reassures my employers that I have the ability to think, use my initiative and make a difference to their business. I don’t want to just stand there and milk cows, I want to make a difference and strive to improve the business. That fits in with the way my employers think, and when you have a team all pulling for the same thing, it’s a lot easier to reach your goal.”