College of Agricultural Sciences to participate in Study Abroad Week events

January 08, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Every year, thousands of Penn State students enrich their academic experience and expand their view of the world by studying abroad.

For students who haven't yet reaped the benefits of international learning — and even for those who have — Penn State's Office of Global Programs will showcase education-abroad opportunities during Study Abroad Week, slated for Jan. 14-18 at various times and locations on the University Park campus.

The College of Agricultural Sciences will participate in the week's events, which include information sessions on study-abroad programs, application procedures and funding opportunities, among other topics.

"The week gives students a deeper understanding of what it's like to study abroad and provides them with the chance to speak one-on-one with education-abroad advisers and international program and internship representatives," said Ketja Lingenfelter, assistant director for student global engagement for the college. "With summer and fall deadlines approaching, I encourage any student who is considering global education to attend one or more of the events planned."

Study abroad provides students with the opportunity to develop knowledge about the world and skills to operate effectively in a global society and gives them a space in which they can discover how to translate their knowledge and ideas into action, according to Melanie Miller Foster, assistant teaching professor of international agriculture in the Office of International Programs.

"Well-designed programs offer students the chance to interact closely with diverse individuals, to develop intercultural communication skills, and to recognize that they have a particular perspective and that others may not share it," she said.

Career enrichment is another benefit of studying abroad, noted Lori Connelly, director of experiential learning and career services for the college. According to a study done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, about 49 percent of the general population of recent graduates find jobs within 12 months of graduation compared to 97 percent of study-abroad alumni.

"International travel experiences can translate directly into various core competencies sought by employers," Connelly said. "The personal and professional growth obtained during time abroad can fortify a student's communication skills, critical thinking, and his or her leadership ability — all of which are competencies that employers routinely seek in graduates."

Lingenfelter said programs vary by location, duration, time of year, and purpose of study. Examples of signature programs planned for 2019 through the College of Agricultural Sciences include studying issues in economic, community and agricultural development in Kenya; exploring food and agriculture systems in Paris; and examining sustainable development in Costa Rica.

"Of course, these are just a few of the many opportunities we provide," said Lingenfelter. "We work closely with students to align their academic and travel goals — and help them with funding resources — so they can have a meaningful experience."

Study Abroad Week kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 14 at the HUB-Robeson Center's Monumental Staircase with "Education Abroad Advising on the Fly." Students can stop by until 1:30 p.m. and have their questions answered.

The College of Agricultural Sciences will be directly involved with two of the week's programs, the first taking place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, in 122 Agricultural Administration Building (study abroad lounge). The presentation will focus on the "School for Field Studies," a program that provides hands-on environmental study-abroad programs in 10 countries.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 in the "noontime lounge" in the HUB, Lingenfelter will be among those on hand for "STEM Students Abroad: Mapping Your Academic Experience." This open house addresses the academic challenges that many science, technology, engineering and math students face when planning a study-abroad experience. In addition, students in non-STEM fields can learn about the course equivalency process.

For a complete list of Study Abroad Week events, visit Further information about opportunities through the College of Agricultural Sciences is available by contacting Lingenfelter at or by visiting

  • Study Abroad Week
    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated January 08, 2019