My main tasks at the centre were feeding, cleaning the stables, and so-called “socializing” which simply means spending time with the animals to get them used to the interaction with humans – this was actually one of the best tasks.
What remained particularly positive in my mind is the interaction among the staff members because they were incredibly open and very kind. I also very much liked the tasks that were given to me because I enjoy spending time with animals and thus didn’t perceive it as work.
The temperature in California during the summer months can rise up to 40°C what made the physical work a lot more difficult, but I quickly got used to it and was able to manage my tasks.
I was assigned with tasks on the farm four days per week and had free time on the remaining three days. On one of those three off-days all of the interns and a staff member took a car to do some shopping since the farm is very remote and you can’t reach anything by foot or by bike. We also spent some time together that day; either handing out flyers at a college, cooking a vegan meal together or playing games.
I would have liked to spend some time with the staff members outside of my working hours and maybe go on some trips to the surrounding national parks, but unfortunately I was not able to pull off this plan since I didn’t have a car and most of the staff members lived further off. I’d recommend getting a car for the time of the project so you have the opportunity to use your off-days and visit cities like Sacramento, San Francisco, or some of the surrounding national parks.
What really stood out in a positive way was the handling of the topic veganism. All of the staff members pursue a vegan lifestyle for ethical reasons and I often talked with them about it and learned a lot. Anyone who is interested in this topic and wants to participate in the project will have a great time.
I was 100% happy with the NATUCATE's support. I never felt abandoned or left behind by the team and am very thankful for the great support. All in all, it was an interesting and diversified experience that I can recommend to everyone who is interested in the topic veganism.