Boulder RAFP in EnglishBoulder RAFP in English

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Where does the program take place?

A. The program takes place in the Rabobank Group Headquarters which is located in Utrecht, the Netherlands, 3 minute walk from the train station. Rabobank Group is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company. It is a global leader in food and agriculture financing and sustainability-oriented banking. The Rabobank Headquarters has training facilities, a cafeteria, restaurant, a bar, as well as lounge areas. For more information, click here

 
Rabobank Group
Croeselaan 18
3521 CB Utrecht, the Netherlands
Telephone: +31 30 216 0000

Back to top

Q. In what languages will the program be held?

A. The Boulder RAFP (July 16-27, 2018) will be offered in English only.

Back to top

Q. How much does the program cost and what does the fee cover?

A. The 2018 tuition cost is USD $4,450 (USD $500 non-refundable registration fee and USD $3,950 course fee). The tuition fee primarily covers courses, daily coffee breaks, lunches, inauguration and closing gala dinners, and some extracurricular activities. 

Back to top

Q. What other costs will I need to cover?

A. Participants are responsible for other costs including travel to Utrecht, visa fees, dinners, incidental expenses, excursions, and social activities, weekend lunches as well as any shopping in Utrecht.

The following table includes three sample budgets. Please note that these budgets are in US dollars, they do not include airfare and other related travel expenses (transfer to and from your home airport, visa fees, travel insurance, etc), as well as shopping expenses.

Sample 2018 Budgets in USD

*Does not include airfare and other related travel expenses.

Conservative Budget in USD:

Tuition ($500 non-refundable registration fee + $3950 program fee) $4,450
Accommodations at 2 star hotel w/o breakfast ($95/night x 13 nights) $1,235
Optional Transportation (optional to buy day ticket or load card) ($4,5/ride x twice a day x 14 days) $126
Dinners & Incidentals ($20 x 14 days) $280
Excursions & Social Activities $100
TOTAL $6,191

Standard / Medium Budget in USD:

Tuition ($500 non-refundable registration fee + $3950 program fee) $4,450
Accommodations at 3 star hotels w/ breakfast ($110/night x 13 nights) $1,430
Optional Transportation (optional to buy day ticket or load card) ($4,5/ride x twice a day x 14 days) $126
Dinners & Incidentals ($30 x 14 days) $420
Excursions & Social Activities $150
TOTAL $6,576

Liberal Budget in USD:

Tuition ($500 non-refundable registration fee + $3950 program fee) $4,450
Accommodations off campus at 4+ star hotel w/ breakfast ($180/night x 13 nights) $2,350
Optional Transportation (optional to buy day ticket or load card) ($4,5/ride x twice a day x 14 days) $126
Dinners & Incidentals ($40 x 14 days) $560
Excursions & Social Activities $200
TOTAL $7,676

Back to top

Q. Are financial assistance or discounts available for the program?

A. Boulder Institute does not offer scholarships or discounts to attend the program. Most of the Boulder RAFP participants, however, attend the program on a partial or full sponsorship that they secure themselves. We recommend that you talk to your employer, donor agencies working in your region, microfinance networks, and government institutions. For some guidance on how to go about securing funding to attend the program, click here

Back to top

Q. Who typically attends the program?

The RAFP has been designed for professionals from the following institutions:

  • Agricultural value chain providers of finance, state agricultural banks, credit unions and microfinance institutions that serve rural SMEs and smallholder farmers.
  • Development programs offered by ministries of agriculture.
  • Multilateral and bi-lateral organizations, donors, support organizations and NGOs with a mandate of working with this sector.

Experience in rural and agricultural finance is a pre-requisite for participation. Program participants should have an understanding of basic issues related to agriculture and some experience with rural SMEs, agricultural households, agricultural related markets, financial services, as well as relevant concepts such as seasonality and diversification. 

We invite practitioners and specialists to register! click here

Back to top

Q. How do I register for the program?

A. You will need to complete the on-line registration form in order to reserve your space in the program. As we get closer to the program, you will receive email correspondence with additional instructions on payment, securing your visa (if necessary), course selection, etc.

Registration for the program is on a first-come first-served basis. You will be accepted into the program once you register and submit payment. If you have any concerns regarding whether this is the right program for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We encourage you to register early in order to secure your space in the program.

To register now, 
click here

Back to top

Q. What are the accommodations / hotel options?

A. There are many options for accommodations near the Rabobank Group Headquarters. Some people prefer to stay near the training center, while others choose to stay in hotels in the City Centre.

The hotels list can be found now, click here 

Back to top

Q. What is the program schedule?

A. This intensive rural and agricultural finance training program will take place during three full weeks. Classes start at 8:30am and finish at 5:30pm each day. There will be two coffee breaks and a lunch period. Participants should plan for one to two hours of course preparation and reading each evening, as well as participation in at least three lunchtime round table discussions, panels, or networking meetings. After class and on weekends, there are several social and cultural activities planned for participants.

The program schedule is as follows:

  1. Morning Master Class (8:30am-10am), followed by 30 minute coffee break
  2. Morning Elective Course (10:30am-1pm)
  3. Lunchtime (1:00-2:30pm)
  4. Afternoon Elective Course (2:30pm – 5:30pm), with a 30 minute coffee break at 4pm.
  5. After Class Social, Cultural, Athletic, and Networking Activities (After 5:45pm).

The Morning Master Class lasts the full two weeks and involves many expert panelists and presenters, discussing different strategic views and emerging trends, with the goal of empowering participants to push the field further.

Morning and afternoon elective courses are 5 days (Monday through Friday). There are over 12 elective courses to choose from. Participants will select a total of 4 elective courses prior to coming to the program.

Back to top

Q. Is this program right for someone new to the agricultural finance field?

A. Experience in rural and agricultural finance is important for participation, however the RAFP is also adapted to newcomers to the industry. Program participants should have an understanding of basic issues in agriculture and some experience with rural SMEs, agricultural households, agricultural related markets, financial services, as well as relevant concepts such as seasonality and diversification. We invite practitioners and specialists to register! For more information, you can email us at info@bouldermicrofinance.org

Back to top

Q. Is special food available for dietary restrictions (Halal, vegetarian, etc)?

A. The Rabobank Group Headquarters has a cafeteria with a wide array of food choices. Since the Rabobank is an international organization with collaborators from all regions of the world, they try to offer food that meets the dietary restrictions of different cultures (i.e. vegetarian, halal, etc). Participants will have their lunch at the training venue, and dinner depends on where you are staying. A meal will cost anywhere between € 10 to € 20. Breakfast is usually included in the price of the hotel, and is served buffet style. 

Back to top

Q. How do I get my visa to travel to the Netherlands?

A. The following website gives you some information about the countries that will need a visa to travel to the Netherlands: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/travel-and-residence/visas-for-the-netherlands/short-stay-schengen-visa

If you are required to get a visa to enter the Netherlands, you will need to contact your nearest Dutch Consulate or Embassy and apply for a 'Schengen Visa'. This process can take very long and therefore we strongly recommend you apply at least two months prior to the program in order to get your visa on time. In preparation for securing your visa, we encourage you to make sure that your passport is current and will not expire within 6 months of the program. It is also important that you know where the nearest Dutch Consulate / Embassy is located.

The Embassy / Consulate may also provide you with additional instructions for obtaining your visa, and it is very important that you follow these instructions in a timely manner. For example, you might need to go to the Consulate and provide them with additional information or you may need to pick up your visa. 

We encourage you to request information from the Dutch Embassy / Consulate to understand the process and the documents that will be required.

Once you have submitted your registration fee or full tuition fees (depending on the specific country requirements), the Participants Management Team at Boulder Institute will provide you with special support including a letter of invitation to the appropriate Dutch Embassy or Consulate. The document will be sent about 6 to 8 weeks before the program start date because this is what is generally recommended by the Embassies / Consulates. Sending the document before this date will not generally be beneficial to you since the Embassies / Consulates can reject an application that is sent too early or they may request specific information that you don't yet have (accommodations, air tickets, etc).

Please feel free to contact us at pax_rafp@bouldermicrofinance.org if you have any questions or are concerned about your visa process!?

Back to top

Q. What are the health requirements for traveling to the Netherlands?

A. The following links provide you with health information related to traveling to the Netherlands and Western Europe. We highly recommend that you get travel insurance to cover your travel to and from the Netherlands. 

It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that you must be in good health before coming to the program. If you are sick before coming to the program, you must be seen by a medical provider to make sure that you are cleared to travel both for the sake of your health and the other participants in the program.

Here are some helpful links regarding health and travel in the Netherlands:
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/netherlands
https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/europe/netherlands/health/

Back to top

Q. What tourist activities can I do while I'm in the Netherlands?

A. Utrecht is located in the center of the Netherlands. You can find more information on the cultural attractions in this region by going to the Utrecht tourism site, click here

There are many social and cultural activities planned throughout the two weeks of the program, on the weekend and during the evenings. On the weekend, there will be field trips, organized by Boulder Institute and Rabobank, to meet with Rabobank’s rural and agricultural clients, as well as day excursions planned to Amsterdam. These excursions cost anywhere between €35 to €60 per person. During the evenings, there are music and dance nights, tours of the city, shopping trips, exercise classes, and more. Some of these activities are free and some of them cost anywhere between €5 to €20. The city is very bike-firendly and there are several places where, you can rent bicycles to ride in the Centre of Utrech or in the country side.

Back to top

Q. What are the recommendations for traveling to the Netherlands?

A. We recommend that you purchase your airplane ticket early since many people travel to Europe during the summer months. You are also much more likely to find lower prices and more direct flights. The nearest airport is Schiphol Amsterdam. From the Schiphol airport, there is a direct train connection to Utrecht with, trains leaving every 15 minutes. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get to Utrecht Central station.

If you are arriving during the weekend, we recommend that you bring Euros from your country with you to the Netherlands since, downtown currency exchange offices are closed on weekends. Alternatively, you can use the currency exchange services at the airport upon your arrival, or if you have an international bank card, you can withdraw cash in Euro at Rabobank Group Headquarters, the program venue.

Back to top

Q. What clothing should I bring for the program?

A. July is one the hottest months in the Netherlands with temperatures ranging from about 12°C at night to up to around 22°C during the day. You should bring clothes appropriate for temperate weather but also be aware that the training rooms have air conditioning and therefore can get a little chilly at times. Moreover, nights can also get cold. During this period, there have been occasional rain storms and therefore it is also advisable to bring an umbrella and rain jacket.

For most of the program, you are free to dress casually, in clothing that is comfortable to you. There are a few special events where you will want to wear more formal attire including the opening ceremony and closing graduation dinner. For the photo day, when we take a photo of all the participants together, we have a special 23 year history of participants wearing the traditional dress from their country. We hope that you will share your traditional dress with us.

Back to top

Q. Is there any other special information I should know for the program?

A. We advise that you do not plan to send back large items to your country as they are difficult to ship and it detracts from focusing on the program.

Back to top

Q. Who can I contact to learn more about the program?

A. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at:
info@bouldermicrofinance.org

Back to top

Boulder Institute of Microfinance

120 E Washington Street Suite 325
Syracuse, New York 13202, USA
+1 (315) 760-3091

info@bouldermicrofinance.org

Boulder Institute