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Student finds safe haven at Assiniboine

Student finds safe haven at Assiniboine

Written On: 10 September, 2018
Category: Agriculture International Student Spotlight Victoria Avenue East Campus
Related programs:  Land & Water Management

One day, Dirk Botha hopes to return to his home country of South Africa as a Canadian farmer.

Botha and his sister became the first members of their family to make it to Canada when he was accepted as a student at Assiniboine Community College and she was accepted at Brandon University.

Their parents are waiting for federal government approval to immigrate here, because they no longer feel safe on the farm in Western Cape province that has been in their family for five generations.

“My parents sleep with firearms under their pillows every night,” Botha said.

The Huffington Post, the Independent and other major newspapers have run photos and quoted South African farmers and their families who say they have been victims of violent crimes.

Botha’s parents hope to farm in Canada, as does he. 

Botha will enter the second year of his Environmental Technologies, Land and Water Management specialization this fall.

This summer, he is working with a Minnedosa farmer who is a producer of grass-fed beef.

Botha does general farm work and helps to manage the cattle, while learning directly about pasture management, a major topic in next year’s studies.

The farmer he is working for is going to send him to visit two other farms which specialize in raising grass-fed cattle.

“I would like to farm grass-fed cattle. That’s one of the reasons I took this job. I could have made more money at another job, but I am utilizing my summer job to help me gain knowledge,” Botha said.

Botha recommends attending Assiniboine to any international student considering it.

“I’ve been extremely impressed. If you have a query about anything – for teachers or the Registrar’s Office – they go out of their way to help you quickly and completely,” he said.

Botha wants to become a Canadian and maintain his South African citizenship.

“I will apply for dual citizenship. I don’t want to lose being South African. I would like to go back there some day. It’s a beautiful country,” he said.