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My experiences as an intern from France in New Zealand

Eleonore is studying Agronomy at the Agrosup in Dijon, France, and has just spent 20 weeks with The AgriBusiness Group through her ‘Internship Abroad’. She is reflecting on the experiences she has had in New Zealand and the (not so) subtle differences in work philosophies and food culture (or lack thereof). Where is the red wine with lunch?

 
 
Looking out on Lake Pukaki, on my trip around the South Island

Looking out on Lake Pukaki, on my trip around the South Island

 
 
 

After spending 5 months in New Zealand for my school internship at The AgriBusiness Group (TAG), it’s time for me to go back home to France. The perfect occasion to review what I have learnt here. 

The one thing that I have to talk first about is the kindness of the kiwis in general, and the reception I received when I arrived at TAG, just after the tragic events in Christchurch on March 15. This event has shown me the strong mentality of this country and the compassion between all its people. 

Beside this kindness, I have also noticed one big difference between my home country and New Zealand - the employees management method. It’s way more flexible in New Zealand than in France. What I mean by that is that at TAG, you can choose your schedule according to your preferences and you can also choose to work from home, as long as you do the work of course. It’s not very common in France yet, and I think we have to get inspired by that. It shows the trust a company can have in the people who work for it. 

And now I have to talk about food. I’m a true French, what did you expect? One thing that I was very worried about before arriving at TAG was lunch time. I was asking myself: Do they stop for lunch? Will I have to stay every day at work at my desk to eat or is it accepted to take a break? In the end, it was way better than I feared! And now there is even a proper lunch room to enjoy the food! And also, the food is not as bad as I was thinking first, even if I still miss my good bread and some red wine for lunch. 

 
Sealy Tarn Track, on the way to Mueller Hut

Sealy Tarn Track, on the way to Mueller Hut

 

During this internship, I had the opportunity to participate at various work events. The retirement party for Goeff, a typical New Zealand morning tea for Sam’s birthday, a farm trip with Sue and another one with Dave (who still doesn’t believe the amount of food I ate that day), the Friday meeting with some New Zealand wines and cheeses, the trip to Tauranga with Jay for my internship subject, a Bastille Day party and soon my departure party. It was very nice to see the connection between all TAG’s employees and the effort they made to integrate me in their relaxed company culture. 

I made the right choice in France when I decided to come here to TAG. I have spent such a great time during these 5 months, both at work and during my road-trip around the country. I leave with a lot of beautiful memories and I know that I want to continue discovering new ways of working, thinking, and living through this new found passion for travelling.