After the traineeship program of AKI with Russia was supposed to celebrate its 30th anniversary last year, the students were not able to travel due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Corona pandemic. This makes us even more pleased that in 2021 our trainees from Russia could once again arrive as planned and that also the orientation meetings, excursions and graduation traditionally included in the AKI trainee programs could be held with only a few restrictions.
This year, AKI was able to welcome 112 interns in total from Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia, as well as from Kenya for the first time, to the agricultural traineeship program in southern Germany and therefore is looking back at a successful year 2021, despite the still difficult situation regarding Corona.
The 40 Russian trainees and one Georgian trainee successfully completed their practical training on farms in southern Germany and celebrated their farewell on 3 December 2021 by receiving their certificates at a ceremony at DEULA Kirchheim unter Teck.
As the situation in terms of increasing corona infections had developed very critically in recent weeks, the planned presence event had to be held as a hybrid event. Thus, the trainees and the AKI team including the deputy chairman of AKI, Mr. Siegfried Schwab, were in-person at the DEULA, while the host families, the honoured guests as well as other board members were able to participate in the event digitally.
After Mr. Schwab, who himself took part in the traineeship program with Russia as a host farm for 16 years and has now been a member of the AKI board for 20 years, had welcomed the participants, the greetings of the honoured guests were given next.
Ministerial Director Mrs. Grit Puchan from the Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg (MLR) congratulated the interns online on this meaningful event. In her welcome speech, she emphasised the extraordinary importance of intercultural exchange and the exchange of agricultural experience and knowledge between Germany and the AKI partner countries.
This was followed by a welcome speech of the deputy director for educational work, Mrs. Oksana Mezentseva from the Labinsk Agricultural Vocational School, which was also participating in the event digitally.
Five trainees were honoured by Mr. Siegfried Schwab and AKI Managing Director Falk Kullen for their outstanding practical achievements and the best report book. "I believe that an international traineeship shows a trainee the broadness and importance of agriculture in people's lives" - reported one of the Russian trainees, Aleksandr Zinkovskii, from the host farm Jens Scheuermann from Weinheim, who won the first place.
From side of the host families, Mr. Richard Renner from Herbrechtingen, who has been participating in the AKI internship program with Russia for 7 years, and Mr. Johannes Frölich from Setzingen, who has been participating in the AKI internship program for almost 30 years, shared their experiences about the traineeship program:
"Although one could assume that saying goodbye has already become routine for me, this year was particularly difficult for me. I have already been able to experience many good, young trainees on my farm. Friendships have developed with some trainees that have lasted up until today." - Mr. Richard Renner.
"This traineeship program is a very valuable contribution to international relations. In this way, we build bridges between Russia and Germany. This is particularly important in these politically turbulent times [...] I hope and wish that the internship program with Russia as well as with the other AKI partner countries will continue and that interns will come to us again in 2022 and that we, the host families, will be there again." - Mr. Johannes Frölich.
The following day, the trainees were brought to Frankfurt Airport by the responsible program managers Olga Rybakova and Anastasiia Fomina to fly back to Russia.