Summer 2019 Intern Experience at Woodside
We have had two interns on the farm this summer: Amor from Spain helped us to look after the kids for a few weeks over the summer holidays while we've been out running a farm, while Camille from France (who just left a week ago) has been a huge help on the market gardens. We asked Camille for a few thoughts on her experience working on the farm and her time in Scotland, which you will find below.
A huge thanks to both for their help this year, and haste ye back to Arran!
1.What institution are you studying at?
I am studying at the engineering school of Purpan, in Toulouse, France. It's a three years degree, and then two more years to become an engineer, where you specialise in one subject (which for me will be plants!). I didn't do the first year, I have started in second year and I am about to start the third one.
And as I like to complicate things, I have already done another agricultural degree (but more practical, with laboratory analyses, field work …), before starting Purpan.
2.What are the details of the course you are doing?
On the first three years, we basically learn a lot of "theory" agricultural knowledge like soil science, plants biology, animals' physiology, agronomy, and different types of agricultural production such as wine, cheese, … We also have boring things like maths, chemistry, physics, ... And finally, there is a financial aspect: we learn how to run a farm without losing (too much hopefully) money (which isn't my favourite part, but I guess it will help when I enter the world of being a real adult …).
3.Why did you choose to come to Woodside and why is it relevant to your coursework?
I've chosen to come to Woodside because it is a small-scale farm. I really wanted to learn more about small farms, as we always learn about "big farm" at school. I also really like Woodside because they grow food organically and that there are different enterprises (vegetables, hens and pigs). Finally, the fact that the farm is on an island was interesting for the "autonomy" from the mainland and the local aspect. I guess during my placement, I want to learn about things they don't really teach us at school, and Woodside had all the characteristics!
I've chosen to come to Woodside because it is a small-scale farm. I really wanted to learn more about small farms, as we always learn about "big farm" at school. I also really like Woodside because they grow food organically and that there are different enterprises (vegetables, hens and pigs).
4.What previous experiences have you had of working on a farm?
My main experience on a farm was a 2 month placement on a dairy farm in France. The farm was created and run by the same family since 3 generations. It was the kind of "big farm" we study at school: 130 milking cows, 200 sheep and 250 hectares of land (which included hay and ensilage production). He was selling his milk to Lactalis and the lambs to a local slaughterhouse (with a high-quality label). Nothing organic and nothing small… But I really liked how the farm brought the family together!
5.What is the most important thing you have learnt from your experience here?
The importance of community is the most important thing I have learnt, I think!
6.What would you like to see happening at Woodside in the future?
I think Jenny and Andy have amazing projects in mind, and I hope they will realise them all!
7.What do you think about the Scottish cuisine? Best and worst things.
I think the hardest thing to get used to is "the mealtime and organisation". I don't really know how to explain that but, in France we have 3 real big meals and that's all (breakfast around 7am, lunch around 12 and dinner around 20pm). We don't snack at all! (Well yes kids snack when they come back from school around 4.30pm-5pm). But once you are used to it, I really like the Scottish cuisine!! And Jenny is an amazing chef.
8. Anything else you would care to share with us?
I really, really enjoyed working at the farm! I am going to miss all your Scottish accents and my very lovely neighbours the piglets. It really was an amazing experience. Thanks to all of you!