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“I was also able to improve my language skills”
The young Swiss Abroad Pol Giralt from Spain was a student at the Swiss school in Barcelona, like his grandmother and father. During the last long summer holidays, he visited Switzerland and worked on a farm.
Agriviva was founded over 75 years ago. The organisation aims to build a bridge between town and country and different cultures by arranging placements of several weeks for young people from all over the world. In return for free board and lodging and a small amount of pocket money, you will help a farming family with their daily work. Ideal for all those who like to be active, like nature, and want to get to know a new family and life on a Swiss farm.
Pol Giralt, how did you find out about the Swiss organisation Agriviva?
My father read an article in the “Swiss Review” by educationsuisse on the subject of “Gaining work experience in Switzerland”. Agriviva was also mentioned in it. I thought working on a farm was a good idea and I really wanted to try it out. I found all the necessary information on the Agriviva website and so I signed up.
How did you like it on the farm in Switzerland?
I spent a whole month on the farm in the village of Bözberg in the canton of Aargau and experienced a lot. I liked it very much, although it was sometimes exhausting work.
Describe for us your typical day on the farm.
I got up at 7 am and had a big breakfast with the family. At 8 o’clock we went to the field to pick cherries. Every day there were about 15 people working, but sometimes there were 30 people. The cherry trees are about four metres high. So, we climbed ladders or picked from the ground more than 500 kilos of fruit every day. After the lunch break, I either helped pick cherries again or was in the barn milking cows.
Were there any language problems or other problems of understanding?
I learned German at the Swiss school in Barcelona and at home with my grandmother. So, there were few misunderstandings. The farmer’s family knew that I didn’t understand Swiss German. There were also some employees from Germany, so we always spoke German. And I was also able to improve my language skills.
What did you like most on the farm?
It was very interesting to meet many new people and the different cultures. It was also interesting to see how the farmers market the fruit and to follow the path of the cherries from the field to the supermarket.
Will you return to Switzerland to work on a farm again?
I would like to go to a farmer’s family again next year. However, in September I started my studies in chemical engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC. I am not sure whether I will have enough time for Agriviva.
Would you recommend a stay with a farm family to your friends?
Yes, for sure! And not only to my friends, but to all young people, I recommend helping on a farm. It’s not only a great experience, but you also learn new things. To experience yourself the hard work that is done so that we have food on the table every day teaches us to have respect for the farmers.
Did you also consider coming to Switzerland for your university studies?
During my school years at the Swiss School in Barcelona, I thought about studying in Switzerland. Unfortunately, however, I didn’t find my desired course of study in engineering in the field of space technology. Now I’m studying chemistry in Barcelona, which I also like. In any case, the Swiss school prepared me very well for my future and my studies. For example, I already know some of the university material from school. I also acquired good language skills in German, English and French there. Some of my friends are now studying in Switzerland. If it’s possible, I might do my Master’s in Switzerland.
Educationsuisse offers young Swiss Abroad advice on all matters related to education in Switzerland.