LONGERENONG College’s first international students have settled into their new lives in the Wimmera.
Four individuals made history by becoming the first international students accepted by the agricultural college.
The announcement that the college would become an international education provider was first made in 2017, after the federal government’s approval was delayed.
Head of campus John Goldsmith said it was well worth the wait.
“So far it’s been great for them to be here and mix with the domestic students. It is early days, but they seem to have settled in well,” he said.
“Our marketing campaign will ramp up this year to increase international enrollments for 2020. Hopefully this year’s students will be able to become ambassadors for the international program.”
Scottish national Hamish Cunningham-Jardine, 21, was the first international student to enroll at the college.
Born in Scotland, Mr Cunningham-Jardine lived in Australia for a brief period as a child, before moving back home when he was seven.
“I grew up on a 2500 acre farm in southwest Scotland. We’ve actually recently transitioned from being a cropping and cattle farm, to mainly being a grass silage farm,” he said.
“You cut silage and put it into an anaerobic digestier. It produces methane gas by breaking down the grass; that gas can then burn in engines to run engines.”
In 2016 he moved back to Australia.
“I had just finished school and I came over to stay with family friends. A friend of mine told me about some work for the harvest. I was only going to drive the header between October and February, and then go back home, but I got a bit carried away and stayed here,” he said.
“I’ve been mainly working for a contractor based in Lismore and harvesting. Two years ago the contractor bought two new farms up near Swan Hill and they had no one to run them. So I went up there and managed the spraying program for a year.”
After his family put “a bit of pressure” on him to return to study, Mr Cunningham-Jardine decided to seek out education options in the agriculture field.
“I had heard of Longy from friends and that’s how it started. I was quite nervous to start with, but I felt right at home because everyone was so friendly. The way they teach things seems more hands-on than anywhere else I looked at. I like that aspect,” he said.
“When I finish, if it’s not a bad year, I will look at buying my own header and starting a contracting business, or getting myself on my own farm. At the moment I would like to see myself staying in Australia, but I’ll see how things go back home.”
Longerenong College’s other international students include Lille Smith and Ethan Brown, who are both from Chelmsford, England.
Ms Smith previously worked on banana plantation in Cairns, while Mr Brown worked on a dairy farms at Terang.
The final international student for 2019, Jarrad van de Linde of South Africa, arrived on Friday.
All the students have enrolled in the Certificate IV in Agriculture for their first year. They will then go on to study the Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management in their second year.
The college has a number of agents contracted on its behalf to find prospective international students.
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