doi: 10.5191/jiaee.2018.25307

A Survey to Determine International Program Growth Areas and Needs to Guide a
College of Agriculture International Programs Office

Leslie D. Edgar
Don W. Edgar
University of Georgia

Olivia Caillouet
Catherine Dobbins
University of Arkansas

 

Abstract
International programs (IP) continue to grow in importance. There is an increased demand from employers and communities for globally competent individuals, yet only 2.3% of Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences (Bumpers College) students studied abroad in an agriculture-related program during the 2014 and 2015 academic year. This study used descriptive survey methods with University of Arkansas undergraduate students enrolled in Fall 2017 Bumpers College courses (n = 1,758) to determine their perceptions of international experiences. These perceptions included identifying the most influential barriers and benefits to participation. The majority of students were interested in short-term faculty-led programs (n = 1,190, 72.1%), followed by international internships (n = 760, 46%). Students wanted to participate in an IP during summer I (n = 1,138, 69%), followed by summer II (n = 839, 50.8%). Based on a 5-point Likert-type scale, students reported “cost is too high” (M = 3.83, SD = 1.10) and being “too busy with school” (M = 3.27, SD = 1.18) as the most influential barriers to participating in an IP. Using the same Likert-type scale, students reported an IP being a “life-changing opportunity” (M = 4.49, SD = 1.75) and “sets me apart when applying for grad school/jobs” (M = 4.27, SD = 1.90) as the most influential benefits. The fact that 5.5% of the students surveyed had participated in an IP confirms that the Bumpers College requires more immersion in order to meet the University of Arkansas goal for 25% international participation by 2020.

Keywords: agricultural education, international experiences, international programming, study abroad