Learning about agriculture in Rotorua, New Zealand
I arrived in New Zealand in 2018 as a 13-year-old boy who knew little English. My parents have always wanted me to study abroad and experience things that Thailand, my home country, cannot grant me.
New Zealand was our best choice as it is one of the safest countries in the world. We also did some research on what courses New Zealand’s universities have that I would be able to do once I finished High school. Currently, in 2023, I am studying Health Science First Year at the University of Otago in pursuit of my passion in the health science field. This field of study requires just as much effort as other fields so I don’t usually have a lot of time to do anything else other than studying. When I do have time, I love to go out and enjoy outdoor activities which are a big part of New Zealand culture.
For the past 5 years, through my education I have been witness to many exciting activities and interesting cultural experiences. This made me question if there is anything else that New Zealand has to offer aside from a great education. In early July 2023, I was fortunate enough, together with three other international students, to have participated in Education New Zealand’s international students trip to Rotorua.
Amongst the variety of activities that Rotorua has to offer, one of the most unique activities is the Agrodome. At Agrodome, we did many activities such as riding on a tractor, feeding llamas, and watching the shepherd dog show. I personally enjoyed Agrodome very much, particularly, “The Farm Show” where they taught us about New Zealand’s livestock. This included differences between the 19 sheep breeds in New Zealand and how they are raised, the use of shepherd dogs, cow milking, and many more. I was very lucky to be called up on the stage by the shepherd to participate in a live auction. I received a sheep doll as a gift, while some other people got to feed milk to the lambs.
We then got a farm tour where we rode on the back of a tractor trailer to see how everything on a farm works. I got to see and interact with sheep, cows, pigs and alpacas. All while being surrounded by mountains and pastures in the countryside. I won’t lie though, at this time of year it was cold, and I am glad I wore my warmest jacket, to deal with some of the wind that day.
Studying in New Zealand has taught me many things, especially to appreciate the beautiful nature around us. Even though agriculture does not have too much relevance to medicine, it gives me insight into some of the things that are important in the world that I might not have seen elsewhere. I personally think that agriculture is a very important part of New Zealand both economically and culturally, everywhere we go we are surrounded by open farm land. At Agrodome, I got to learn the importance of agriculture to New Zealand. It is a main source of income for New Zealand's economy as around 80% of New Zealand’s dairy products are exported overseas. I can relate to this because, in Thailand, much of our Jasmine rice is exported overseas to contribute to international Thai food culture - which I can even experience here in New Zealand. It is nice to see how the world is connected, no matter how large.