A Change in Perspective: Agriculturally-Based Study Abroad Experience for Nicaraguan Students
Mark S. Hainline
Iowa State University
Baleshka Brenes Mayorga
University of Arizona-Yuma
Amy E. Boren Alpízar
Rudy A. Ritz
Texas Tech University
Study abroad experiences serve to enrich students’ educational experiences, granted these programs must be evaluated to assess educational effectiveness. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine Nicaraguan students’ perceptions of agriculture and future aspirations, before and after engaging in a four-day agricultural-based program. Graphic elicitation and arts-based projective techniques served as metrics to assess students’ perceptions. Four major themes, with six sub-themes emerged from the data: a) perceptions of agriculture (i.e., previous agriculture); b) strength through unity (i.e., unity; and ripple effect); c) aspirations (i.e., importance of education); d) value of experience (i.e., learning new things; and thankfulness). Overall, the Nicaraguan students indicated the study abroad experience broadened their perspective of agriculture, having a direct impact on their career aspirations.
Keywords:Study abroad, graphic elicitation, agriculture, youth development, 4-S
Acknowledgements.This article is a product of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, Ames, Iowa, Project No. IOWO3813, and sponsored by Hatch Act and State of Iowa funds.