In order to serve all segments of the global population, it is increasingly important for Extension agents to work with diverse clientele. Participating in an international extension experience is an ideal way for an individual to develop a cultural identity by offering assistance beyond their borders. Many opportunities for international extension experiences exist, but most extension agents do not participate. In order to attract extension agents to international extension experiences, organizers need to recognize the fears associated with this type of travel and work to alleviate these concerns. The main purpose of this study was to identify the fear-related barriers keeping extension agents from participating in international extension experiences. A census survey of University of Florida extension agents measured fear-related barriers associated with international extension experiences. The study revealed significant relationships existed between selected locations and the level of fear-related barriers perceived. The less appealing locations substantially correlated to a higher level of fear-related barriers. To deal with these fear-related barriers, increased education surrounding the realities of these experiences is necessary. In addition, administrators must emphasize the importance of participating in international experiences through recognition tied directly to the efforts of those working internationally. Not only do fears need to be dispelled, but extension agents must see how international extension experiences enhance their role domestically to increase participation.
Keywords: Extension agents, barriers, fears, locations, professional development