Day 7: Home Away from Home

Varieties of cheese in downtown Dronten

June 5, 2014

On the polder of Holland is CAH Dronten. It is a more of a technical college, compared to Wageningen University, which has more science related courses. At MSU we have science courses as well as hands on courses. For my host family visit I was able to stay at the CAH Dronten Farm with Harmen, and Jaan. Just like at MSU, we have caretaker students that live at each farm. CAH Dronten has all of the farms including; swine, poultry, and dairy, all of which are located in the same plot of land. Harmen and Jaan, who we stayed with, take care of the dairy farm with one older gentleman. After completing the chores, a group of four of us walked to town. The town of Dronten was about a 30 minute walk from the farm, and by the time we got there we had to sit down. The Americans all grabbed a bite to eat at a fast food burger joint and then walked around all the small, specialized shops. The city of Dronten is set up like a small strip-mall in America. I purchased cheese that barely made it back to the location of where we were staying, because I ate almost all of it! I also purchased some of our host family’s favorite food. They appreciated it when we arrived back.

''That evening I milked my very first Dutch cow in a double 8 herringbone milking parlor! We finished milking in about 2 hours, which is very unlike home. The Holstein cows that we milked do not produce as much milk as the cows in America. They only produce about 60 lbs per day, whereas home is about 85 lbs per day. Herds here are also very small; a farm with 300 milking cows is considered a huge farm, which I was very surprised to hear. The set up of the CAH farm was not much different than America. Although, the school farm is progressive, it was not really like the other farms we have visited on our European adventure. After milking we had a bonfire with some friends of the host family and we all got to eat frikandellen and biter-balls. Those are the traditional foods of the Dutch, so our host family said we had to try it. I liked the food a lot; I could almost see myself living here. I felt like I really bonded with the guys and felt like I was at home, just hanging out. The lifestyle here is not much different than America. The guys we stayed with might actually come to America next year for a study abroad trip! I will miss them a lot, but it’s just part of vacation. I wish I could have stayed on the farm longer!!! I enjoyed the visit very much and would love to come back and visit another time.

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