Internship at an aquaponic farm in France

In 2020-2021, Lala Koroleva, a 1st year Master's student at the Faculty of Horticulture and Processing Technologies of our university, underwent exchange training at the Higher Bioengineering School ISA Lille. Thanks to her academic success following the results of the exchange study, our student was offered a summer internship in France. In her review, Lala shares interesting impressions and talks about the peculiarities of the practical training at an aquaponic farm in the city of Lille.

“Doing the summer internship in France is an excellent opportunity to practice the knowledge I acquired during a year of exchange studies at ISA Lille – the graduate school of Agriculture and Bioengineering. Study here involves completing two internships in research laboratories or private companies. The first internship takes place in the summer after the first year of the master's degree and lasts 2-3 months. The second begins with the second semester of the final year and lasts 6 months. The student searches for a place to complete each of these internships independently. Preparation for the first summer internship begins literally from the first days of academic year. There are some regulations for communication between potential interns and companies in France. Each applicant must prepare a one-page resume (CV). It is necessary to carefully consider what information to put there and how to arrange it to draw attention to the candidate from the good side. Also with the resume student needs to send a cover letter to the company. Cover letter describes the motivation of the candidate and the reasons for choosing a particular company. The university directs in the preparation of these documents. A specially invited specialist checks the СV, points out mistakes and helps structurate the information and submit it correctly.

Students independently send a CVs and a cover letters to the companies and wait for a response. If the company is interested in a particular candidate, they will send an invitation to an interview. An interview is the next serious step that a student should prepare in advance. During the interview, the company's recruiter will understand how truthful was the information in the CV and cover letter, how strongly candidate is motivated, and what distinguishes him from other applicants.

If the interview part was successful, the contract will be signed with the student. After student becomes an intern of the company. Since the internship involves conducting research and writing a report, university will provide the teacher who is appointed to help work on the research and oversee the internship.

My summer internship takes place in the aquaponic farm near Lille. The type of production on this farm is a closed biological system. It combines aquaculture (cultivation of rainbow trout) and the cultivation of agricultural plants (green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, aromatic herbs and edible flowers) without the use of soil. In this system, fish waste transformed with the help of nitrifying bacteria becomes food for plants, and plants filter water for fish. This method is high-tech and eco-friendly since it involves the effective use of a limited area, low water use (water moves in a circle, only the part that has naturally evaporated is added in the form of rainwater), the products produced do not contain herbicides and pesticides.

Maintaining the operation of such a farm requires deep knowledge in the field of fish farming and crop production. I am happy that I can study each element of this complex system in practice. Currently, more and more people live in cities, and fresh food supplies are essential. Thanks to this, such urban farming areas as hydroponics and aquaponics are rapidly gaining popularity and become a promising direction for study and development.”

For all questions of international academic exchanges, you can contact the International Cooperation Department (educational and laboratory building No. 3, room No. 2437).

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Posted in News, News(en) on Jul 27, 2021