Students' Perceptions of International Agriculture After an International Agricultural Experience
Study abroad and internship experiences are the best ways for students to globalize their education. The purpose of this study was to identify students' perceptions of international agriculture before and after they participated in an international agricultural study abroad and internship. The objectives were to identify the attitudes about both international agricultural study abroad programs and internships, compare and contrast perceptions of international agriculture based on study abroad experience or internship, and identify any motivations, barriers, and benefits of international agricultural experiences to student development. The results indicated the major motivations, barriers, and benefits, the role of agriculture in students' decisions to study or intern abroad, and the importance of the length of a trip abroad. Major motivations included travel/international experience, education, work experience/hands-on activities, culture, and agriculture/natural resources; barriers included cost, time off work/schedule, language, safety and health, and time away from home; finally, benefits included experience in international agriculture and natural resources, culture, international travel, global perspective, and education. This study found that international agriculture was a major motivator, even with the students who had no agricultural background. It also indicated that short-term study abroad trips and internship programs during break times from school are increasingly popular. Universities can use this case to understand better and improve international learning opportunities for students and increase interest and knowledge in agriculture.