‘This is my dream: travelling, doing research and giving advice,’ tells Monica van der Hall. Together with two teachers and ten other Van Hall Larenstein students from Wageningen, she spent three weeks of April and May travelling through Croatia. The second year students of Animal Husbandry and Equine, Leisure and Sports made the tour as part of a project in business and enterprise.
The members of the group also recall the mine fields and houses with bullet holes, reminders of the war in the former Yugoslavian area. ‘The war is seen as the cause of many problems, like the high number of divorces. In border areas there is a lot of hate and animosity towards neighbouring countries, and it’s forbidden to play Serbian music,’ Monica van der Hall was told in her talks with teachers and students in Kizevci. On the work front, the group noticed big differences between EU member-country Slovenia and Croatia, which has not yet joined the EU. ‘Croatian farmers have little schooling, and professionals often have just very specific veterinary know-how. Few people have management skills,’ according to Monica. She hopes to continue working with the consultancy office as a job alongside her study.
The six students of Equine, Leisure and Sports organised lessons for horse owners through a mobile horse school, and gave lessons in schools on animal safety, welfare and nutrition. Gerrit van der Linde, who teaches animal husbandry and business skills at VHL, is pleased with how the visit to Croatia went. ‘This pilot project gave the students an opportunity to test their plans in the field.’