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Understanding How Agricultural Communications Students Identify Cultural Dimensions after a Short-term Study Abroad Program

Williams, Kristal
Global competency is a growing quality for many students going into the work force. Study abroad is one way students increase their global competency. In the communications field, global competency is important for students to learn about different cultures and audiences. The purpose of this research was to determine if short-term study abroad programs in a college of agricultural help agricultural communications students identify and compare the characteristics, according to Hofstede�s four dimensions of culture, of the culture they studied and their native culture. Objectives of the study included to understand how these students identify Hofstede�s four dimensions of culture in other culture after studying abroad, determine the ability of agricultural communications student to connect differences in their native culture to other cultures studied, describe the agricultural communications students who participate in study-abroad courses, and identify agricultural communications students� motivation to participate in a short-term study abroad program. A focus group session was used to satisfy the research objectives. The results indicated agricultural communications students noticed the four dimensions of culture, as well as the differences between their native culture and the culture studied. The main differences they found were language and sense of safety. All the participants were female. Students� motivation for study abroad consisted mainly of the department offering the trip and the trip cost. Recommendations for future research include to broaden the focus group to other agricultural communications programs.