A study was conducted to assess perceptions of potential barriers that might affect students’ perceptions and likelihood of participating in international learning at the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. To conduct the study, an 89 item web- based questionnaire was randomly sent to a sample of undergraduate and graduate students. In all, 256 students responded, for a response rate of 34%. Results showed that the most relevant barriers toward participating included concern about financial costs and overall time involved. Their ratings of a set of attributes related to skills possessed by students involved in international activities was above average, while their rating of the degree to which they possessed the attributes was in the average range. Areas which showed a substantial difference between importance and possession of attributes included “knowledge of the humanitarian issues between the U.S. and other countries,” and attributes relating to exports, marketing and humanitarian issues. Perceived barriers was the most significant predictor of intent and perceptions toward international participation, followed by the perceived degree of importance of a set of attributes typically possessed by students who have engaged in an international experience. Based on these findings, possible strategies that may mitigate potential barriers and enhance students’ willingness to participate in internationalization efforts might include focusing on educating students about specific attributes that may result from international experiences, as well as publicizing and promoting those “student success stories” where this effect is illustrated.
Keywords: International Experience, International Involvement, Students