Lessons from New Zealand

Submitted by Riley Browning on the 2023 summer program in New Zealand…

This is my final week in New Zealand. I am torn between wanting to go home and staying here. I had a wonderful time, but I do miss my puppies and my family.

During my stay in New Zealand, I learned a lot about the agricultural practices of the people here as well as their culture. Farmers in New Zealand simply love their jobs. Every farm we visited explained how much they enjoy being the person who feeds the whole world. One arboreal farmer in particular said he knows he has the best potatoes and he is proud to be recognized for having the best potatoes. Another farmer explained that one of his top priorities is the happiness of his employees. He wants them to want to come to work every day and enjoy themselves while working. I think that is something America could do better at. A job is not all about money and benefits, but most jobs in America are based on money and benefits. I believe if people want to come to work every day they will produce higher than a person who hates their job. Every job needs to be done effectively and efficiently. When you enjoy what you are doing effectiveness and efficiency come naturally.

I see the culture of New Zealand as very family-oriented. Businesses are passed down, everything is shut down for the holidays, and people are friendly. As I stated before almost all work in America is done for money and benefits. Therefore, children of small business owners lose their businesses because their children were given a better offer. Also for the holidays, at most a big business will close early and open later in America. Unless it is a small business stores are normally open for a few hours. I believe those hours should be spent with your family, enjoy the holidays because it’s a holiday. Lastly, people are just friendly and willing to help. Most of the time it seems like Americans are afraid to trust other Americans. I think that is kind of sad that at first we always have to think the worst of each other.

As my final week in New Zealand comes to a close, I can look back at the things I have learned about agriculture and the New Zealand people. I hope what I have learned will make me a better person now and in the future. (Submitted during Week Five).