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The cooperative agreement between the two universities was first established in 2013. So far, it has mainly been limited to visits by professors of the two universities in Kleve and Vologda. Now, for the first time students of the study programmes Agribusiness, Sustainable Agriculture and Quality, Safety, Environment and Hygiene had the opportunity to get to know the partner university for themselves. The participating students come from a variety of backgrounds, including Germany, the Netherlands, Cameroon and Australia.
With approximately 300,000 inhabitants, Vologda is major administrative and economic centre in the northwest of Russia. The dairy industry in Vologda enjoys national importance in Russia. With about 4,000 students, the State Dairy Farming Academy educates highly qualified graduates for the regional dairy sector. Vologda butter, kefir and other dairy products are the pride of the region. The participants of the excursion were able to experience the quality and taste of these products themselves during their visit of a dairy plant.
The participants also visited a bread factory, the Office for Economic Development of the regional government, and participated in the scientific conference “First Steps in Science” organized by the Faculty of Agricultural Economics. The presentation on ´“Organic certification as an indicator of sustainability” by Johannes Meyer zu Drewer, Lena Schumacher and Melanie Adele Wilson was awarded the best paper award of the conference.
In addition to the professional program, cultural exchange was important, too. During their visit of a local open air museum the participants learned about the living conditions in an ancient Russian village, as well as about traditional craftsmanship techniques. They participated in an exciting football match and enjoyed the proverbial Russian hospitality during a joint barbecue and visit of a Russian sauna. Particularly worth mentioning was the meeting of the students of both universities, which facilitated a lively exchange on aspects of student life and student organisations in both countries.
Finally, the participants spent one day in Saint Petersburg, where the 313th city anniversary was being celebrated with an extensive cultural programme, providing a wonderful finale to the excursion. With their departure from Russia the students brought back not only many fond memories of their time, but also a keen desire to continue and strengthen this fruitful partnership for years to come. The participants would like to thank the Förderverein Hochschule Rhein-Waal e.V. for financially supporting the excursion, as well as Maria Serebrennikova and her colleagues at the partner university who made this excursion possible in the first place.
Below you’ll find a short clip on the exchange excursion from Russian TV: http://вести35.рф/news/vologda/studenty-iz-germanii-khotyat-stazhirovatsya-v-vologodskoy-oblasti/
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