Every year a group of 5th-year vet students from Massey University in Palmerston North make the pilgrimage down south. Stopping at various other vet clinics along their journey the students arrive at VetSouth Winton as their final destination ready to participate in the famous “Swede Safari”. During their time here students get to enjoy a variety of different activities, all intended to give them a taste of life in a clinic. This a variety of activities are covered, from the technical realities of a farm to the hijinks of talented teams at fun, so include:
- On-farm visits looking at different farming styles (including wintering systems, technology and housing)
- In clinic workshops
- Quiz night
- Adventure challenge
Showing these students South Island farming systems and winter cropping (hence the name “Swede Safari”) is paramount for their understanding of New Zealand farming as a whole. Few of them will experience it otherwise, as they can choose to complete their practical experience in the North island, closer to Massey, as travelling south can be an expensive exercise.
Swede Safari initiative is a fantastic way for us to really showcase what the south has to offer and all of its hospitality.
The Swede Safari initiative is always oversubscribed with more students wanting to participate than are able - partially due to funding. There are normally 15 students every year out of a class of around 100, so it's a good pool to be able to spread the word about the south.
It's such an asset to our region to have young professionals decide to make Southland their home. We have had the pleasure of having many past Swede Safari students join us and other local vet clinics over the years. Some have stayed and settled and now have families here too.
Two of last year's swede safari students Adam and Sarah joined us as new grads this year. Here is what they had to say about swede safari:
“I think if you had told us at the beginning of last year that our journey as vets would take flight in little ol’ Southland, we probably would have told you that you were dreaming! However, lo and behold, Swede Safari managed to convince us both that actually the sun does shine down these ways, the people would probably win first place for the most friendly crowd in NZ, and there are SO many more opportunities and things to get involved with, rather than just growing and eating swedes! Both Adam and I are pretty quick to agree on how grateful we are for the Swede Safari trip as it opened our eyes to what Southland is really like, rather than what people who aren’t from Southland say it’s like. And now here we are, living our best lives in Winton!“
On the 19th of this month, we have another group of Swede Safari students arriving and we again look forward to showcasing our region and what Southland is all about!