In 2005, Holmar Freyr Christiansson packed his bags at the young age of 23 and travelled to the United States from Iceland. Holmar participated in a CAEP turf management program where he learned the skills needed to successfully operate and maintain a golf course. “My host was Milt Smedsrud and his wife, B and they lived on a farm in Minnesota. I was fortunate enough that my host had a lot of confidence in me as I got to participate in the daily activities of running a golf course and that helped me a lot in my current job. I learned all aspects of the golf course– CAEP really helped prepare me for my future as I am using all the skills I learned on my turf management program in the United States. I am currently working as the Head Greenkeeper at Reykjavik GC, Korpa Course.
CAEP definitely changed my life. I think it was mostly the attitude of my host Milt that changed me because he taught me you can succeed and have a few laughs while you are doing it. I think before I had always pictured myself of having to be too serious to get ahead in life.
I have not stayed in touch with my host as much as I would like, but I have heard from them every now and then and I even met them in Iceland two years ago. It was really good to see them again. It was a privilege for me to get to know them and I always felt like the Smedsrud Farm was a home away from home.
I was fortunate enough to get to do some traveling too. I went to North Dakota, South Dakota, visited a friend in Canada, San Francisco and Napa Valley. Some of my favorite memories from my CAEP program was the crazy temperature differences in Minnesota. At one point in the summer there was a high of 107 degrees and in the winter we had a low of minus 40 degrees. I also enjoyed meeting all the different people, the work I did at the golf course, and the travelling. I really enjoyed every minute of Halloween and Thanksgiving too. Thanksgiving was one of the things I really wanted to experience before I came home and it was everything I had imagined it!
My advice to anyone that is interested in what the program has to offer is that it’s a great stepping stone to greater things!
2015 marks CAEP’s 30th anniversary of promoting our mission of bringing young adults together from all over the world to share and learn ideas, beliefs, and agricultural practices through international paid agriculture exchange programs.
In recognition of our 30th anniversary, we are inviting all present and former CAEP trainees, interns and hosts to share photos from their CAEP experience on social media using the hashtag #caepalum and the year they participated in the program.
Stay tuned throughout the month of December as we will be sharing stories and photos from our alumni on social media.