This summer, eight lucky Junior Farmers are leaving Ontario to explore the world around us. Follow along on the JFAO blog as we hear from the JF Travellers before, during, and after their big adventure!
This past winter through the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario I was given the opportunity to explore my passion for traveling by applying for an international exchange! Every year JFAO accepts exchange applications for international and provincial travel opportunities to Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, UK, the Republic of Ireland, Wales, and PEI. I decided to apply for this travel opportunity in the summer of 2013 when I first met the international delegates when Perth County was hosting. I heard about their experience here and their lives back home and I knew that I wanted to do this. In 2013 I made friends from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland; that fall I made friends from Wales. In 2014 I made more friends from the same countries as well as friends in the Republic of Ireland and Tasmania! Now on June 15th, 2015 I begin the adventure of a lifetime as I make my way to Switzerland for 3 months.
In 2013 I graduated from Lakehead University with an HBa Kinesiology. As I arrived home many of my friends had moved away and I found myself looking for something new. That is when a friend brought me out to the newly re-established Perth County Junior Farmer Club. Not having a farming background I was hesitant about joining but I soon discovered all the great work that Junior Farmers do in their community and I jumped right in. Since then I have made hundreds of friends across the province (and the world) and gotten involved in my community and other local organizations!
My adventure of a lifetime began in the fall of 2014 when applications opened for 2015 exchanges; it took a while but by March 1st, 2015 I had finished my application and sent it in to JFAO’s Community and International Exchange Director. The next step was to wait for interviews. March 28th, 2015 in London, ON when JFAO hosted its annual AGM and Conference, this is where the interviews were held. The interview included a test about JFAO, Ontario, and Canada; an interview with a panel of judges; and a short presentation about myself and why I wanted to go on exchange. Then it was back to waiting, but only for 36 hours this time! The following evening at JFAO’s evening banquet myself and 8 other exchange applicants patient awaited the announcement of exchange winners. Finally, after almost 2 years of anticipation the moment was here…”and the exchange to Switzerland goes to: Courtney Steven!” So, the planning began; hearing from the Switzerland Young Farmers, filling out paperwork, writing bio’s, booking my flight, planning my adventure, and figuring out what to bring! During this trip I am looking forward to making many many new friends, expanding my agricultural knowledge, and learning about the different cultures and traditions in Switzerland! For more information about me and to follow my journey follow my blog at travelingcourtney.blogspot.com!
Courtney Steven is a Junior Farmer in Perth JF. Follow along with her adventures at www.travelingcourtney.blogspot.com!