Selected Agriculture Students' Perceptions of International Educational Experience
This study examined College of Agriculture students' perceptions and concerns about international educational experiences. The purpose of this study was to determine students' perceptions about international educational experiences, students' interests in gaining international educational experiences, students' ratings of selected factors that may prompt them to acquire these experiences, or barriers that prohibit them from gaining international educational experiences. A stratified random sample of students (N = 153) was asked to complete an online questionnaire. The response rate was 67 percent. Participants (n = 98) included 27 from Tarleton State University and 71 from Texas A & M University. The instrument included items to measure students' interests and preferences for international educational experiences, factors that influenced (motivated or prohibited) students' desires to gain international educational experiences, and perceptions of international educational experiences. Descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation) and correlations were used to analyze the data. The results showed that only 4 percent of the respondents had participated in study abroad programs. About 77 percent of the respondents were interested in gaining international educational experiences. Students believed that gaining international educational experiences helped them enrich their overall life experience, seek opportunities to live in another country or culture, and helped their resume. Respondents were willing to join the study abroad program held by their universities. They preferred to register for a university faculty-led study abroad, spending one to ten weeks abroad, university study abroad course as an internship, directed study, research project, or similar international experience, and register for university courses at a university study center. The barriers students faced were financial constraints -- paying for the program or funding personal living expenses and studies during the study abroad, finding affordable and adequate housing -- and language barriers. Students who believed that joining in study abroad programs would improve their competitiveness in the global marketplace were more willing to gain international educational experiences than students who didn't think that joining in study abroad programs would improve their competitiveness in the global marketplace.