January 12, 2024 – In a remarkable educational venture, Charles Sturt University’s graduate Marieke Hoelscher and her peers embarked on an international study tour to Timor-Leste, unveiling a world of agricultural knowledge and practices. This trip, part of the Agriculture, Forestry, and Livestock Education program funded by the New Colombo Plan, offered the students an immersive experience into the southeast Asian country’s unique farming systems.

During this two-week tour, the group of 13 students explored various aspects of Timorese agriculture, which is significantly influenced by the region’s history, including colonialism and civil war. They gained firsthand insights into agricultural production and sustainable living in the Asia-Pacific region, interacting with local industries and partaking in livelihood activities like cropping, forestry, fisheries, and livestock.

The program facilitated a rich exchange of knowledge, as Charles Sturt students collaborated with local agricultural students, gaining access to key research projects and stakeholders. This unique interaction provided an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities within Timor-Leste’s agricultural sector.

Hoelscher, a recent Bachelor of Agriculture graduate, noted the trip’s profound impact on her perspective. She observed the sustainability practices in Timorese smallholder farming systems and identified the potential lessons for Australian agriculture, particularly in terms of resource recycling and efficiency.

The study tour also included visits to significant cultural and historical sites, offering the students a holistic understanding of Timor-Leste’s agricultural context in relation to its past.

This enriching experience has not only shaped Hoelscher’s career aspirations but also highlighted the importance of international educational exchanges in broadening students’ horizons and understanding of global agricultural practices.

For more details on this inspiring educational journey, visit the Charles Sturt University news page.