Joris Zwemmer during internship in Taiwan

Joris Zwemmer studies Agribusiness and Business Administration at VHL University of Applied Sciences. He specialised in Business Administration. In his second year he did a work placement at Formosa Horticulture Group in Taiwan. Working in a different (company) culture turned out to be very instructive!


‘The very first week of my work placement it was party time: the Chinese new year started and it was celebrated throughout the week! After that I set to work… My assignment was to realize more exchange between Dutch exporters of lily bulbs and growers in Taiwan.

Different company culture

Formosa is a top-down managed company. Contributions by the employees are not much appreciated and hardly ever implemented. Also the employees clean their own workspace and its surroundings themselves – no external company is hired to do that. Everybody spends at least one hour a day cleaning.’

Tough but instructive

‘The thing that bothered me during my work placement was that the people I needed to get my job done, were too busy. They didn’t have time for any supervision so sometimes I got stuck. Also, not everybody speaks English, so I was pretty much left to my own devices. All in all it has been a tough but instructive time.’

Made contacts

‘I also learned a lot socially. I kept meeting new people and had to present myself time and time again. You learn how to deal with different people in different settings. It struck me that everybody was very friendly and hospitable. I made some very useful contacts in Taiwan that will serve me well in the Netherlands.’


‘I recommend all future students to join an orientation day at school. It gives you a good impression of the school, your fellow students and the town where you’ll be studying. What I like most about VHL is the informal atmosphere and the fact that teachers immediately make time for you.’

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