International Extension Group Travel Programs​

The international extension travel programs are organized and led by on-campus Extension specialists and targeted at Indiana residents and professionals. The purpose of these programs is to provide a hands-on learning experience while incorporating the value of an international opportunity.


World Hunger Education Program - Purdue 4-H Program Visits Heifer International

Heifer Global Village is a collection of authentic model houses from around the world: mud huts, a stilt house, thatch roofs, rain barrels, animal pens, beautiful tapestries, water jugs, and so much more. These homes represent impoverished areas around the globe where Heifer International has worked to eradicate hunger and poverty through gifts of livestock, education, and caring for the environment. Heifer provides experiential, highly rewarding programs for children, teens, and adults who can then use their new experiences and insights to go out and make a difference in someone else's life.

In April 2018, 44 Indiana 4-H members and 11 chaperones (including 5 educators) attended the Global Gateway Experience to Heifer International Headquarters in Perryville, Arkansas sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America. This trip took us on an adventure of exploring different cultures in poverty. One night was spent in the Global Village where each village is designed to look like an area of the world that lives in poverty such as Guatemala, Thailand, Zambia, Appalachia, and the Urban Slums. Where you lived determined what kind of resources were available to you. For example, Guatemala controlled rights to the water while Appalachia had all of the firewood. Some villages had onions while others had potatoes or carrots. Thailand had two separate camps located right next to each other so they quickly combined their resources and worked together. Urban Slums also had two separate camps (wood-floor and dirt-floor) who worked together, as well. 

Each village had an individual who was pregnant. Those who were pregnant wore an apron that held a water balloon. The baby had to stay in human contact at all times. If the baby died (the balloon popped), the family would have to stop what they were doing and mourn the loss of the child. Thankfully, no babies were lost in our venture. Each baby also needed milk to survive which was stored in Guatemala. Villages quickly learned to barter while some resorted to stealing. Each village had a person with some type of ailment or life condition. This could be a broken leg, that would make it hard for the individual to get around the villages or no identification, that meant the individual would have to stay at their camp at all times. The village had to decide as a group to keep the condition or not. If they chose not to keep the condition, they would have to give up some of their resources.

By the end of the night, all but one camp had eaten. Breakfast the next morning was to be prepared by the Urban Slums. However, with the rain all night that continued into the morning, they could not keep the fire lit to provide the camps with breakfast. During the debriefing, youth discussed how they were feeling. They used words such as tired, hungry, and blessed. While this was just one night for them, they were reminded that for some individuals this is their life every day. Poverty is in their communities and their schools. One individual said it was an eye-opening experience. The issues they discussed throughout the night are decisions individuals living in poverty have to make such as where their next meal will come from or the challenges and responsibilities of having a child.​ Most families think about how difficult it will be to afford to raise their child and not being able to work when they have the child. Heifer International tells us, “If there is enough food for all, why do all not have enough?” One person may not be able to feed the whole world but one person can do one act and change at least one individual’s life. What can you do in your community to help someone today?

Heifer's signature Global Gateway program is the perfect way to step out of your comfort zone and into the reality of our global neighbors. The 24 hour simulation takes participants on a journey crafted by power ad choice. Global Gateway creates an existence in which nothing - shelter, food, water, or cooking fuel - can be taken for granted. Participants prepare a meal with limited resources and spend a night in the Global Village. Take a tour of the Global Village at Heifer International here​.

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International Agriculture - Purdue in Vietnam 2018

An Animal Science class and Purdue Extension worked together to identify and provide solutions to real agriculture problems. This program focused on food security and environmental challenges in international agriculture. Four Extension Educators were chosen to work with and mentor the Purdue undergraduates of ANSC 495 led by Dr. Elizabeth Karcher. This partnership provided staff and students the opportunity to visit local Vietnamese farms, interact with faculty and students from the Vietnamese National University of Agriculture (VNUA), share real life experiences, and discuss food security challenges while being immersed in a country with a fascinating history, great food, beautiful landscapes, and friendly, engaging Vietnamese citizens. Upon returning to the U.S., students and mentors created short videos and presentations identifying agriculture issues in Vietnam with possible solutions. Partnering Extension Educators with Purdue students is a great way to expose students to extension work and to also pair real life work experience with traditional classroom style learning. 

This effort was funded in part by Purdue Extension and the Animal Sciences Department. Extension Educators that participated in this program included Amy Thompson from Monroe County, Dave Osborne from Ripley County, Mark Kepler from Fulton County, and Jim Luzar from Parke County. For more information contact Dr. Elizabeth Karcher ( or Amanda Dickson (

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Sustainability in Costa Rica - Study Abroad Program 2018

An agricultural, environmental, and community sustainability in Costa Rica class partnered with Purdue Extension to provide a unique experience to its students. This program was an "introduction" to international travel and study abroad for agriculture students who have not traveled aboard and who may be less likely to participate in traditional, longer-term study abroad programs. Dr. Marcos Fernandez, professor, Amy Jones, Plant Sciences, and Bryan Overstreet, Extension Educator, showcased agriculture in Costa Rica by touring organic pineapple, coffee, beef and cacao farms as well as a Dole banana plantation and nature preserves. Purdue students visited a local high school where students are learning about sustainable farming practices. Learning about agricultural practices in Costa Rica while also talking about the differences and similarities to U.S. agricultural practices gave the Purdue students some great ideas of different ways of tackling similar problems.

The Extension Educator that participated in this program was Bryan Overstreet from Jasper County. For more information contact Dr. Marcos Fernandez (, Amy Jones (, or Amanda Dickson (

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Gardens of England

Our goal is to expand Master Gardener's knowledge in ornamental horticulture, landscape, and garden design in a historical context. The program of study focuses on gardens of historical and modern significance near London, in The West Country, and East Anglia. Lectures, a study booklet, pre-/post-tests and course evaluation are included. Participants usually share what they learn with others in their community upon their return. We'll visit and study such notable gardens as Hampton Court Palace, Stourhead, Hidcote Manor, Hestercombe, Iford Manor, Westbury Court, Knole House, Sissinghurst Castle, the Beth Chatto Garden, Bloom's of Bressingham, and the Royal Horticulture Society gardens at Wisley. Free time in London and a visit to Stonehenge will round out our experiences. Priority enrollment is available to Purdue MGs, but MGs from other states are welcomed on a space-available basis.

The program is organized and led by Dr. Mike Dana and Ms. Rosie Lerner of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue. To view detailed information on-line, see England and Its Gardens "More Great Garden History​".




Health and Human Science Extension Travels to Ikaria, a Destination for the 'Ages'

Purdue University Health and Human Sciences Extension (HHS Extension) sought to gain a better understanding of what it means to age successfully, hoping to learn from other cultures. To do so, an HHS Extension team read Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones, which describes five geographic regions in the world with the greatest longevity. The Greek island of Ikaria was one such place, with nearly one out of three people living to age 90. “Reading this book sparked interest in visiting a ‘blue zone’ to bring back lessons to share with communities statewide,” says Stephanie Woodcox, HHS Extension health and wellness specialist. Blue zones have such success in healthy aging that it seemed like an amazing opportunity to experience how these individuals live and if their lifestyle could be translated to the U.S. Eight county-based Extension Educators from across the state, two on-campus specialists, nursing faculty, and several graduate students participated in this cultural immersion experience.

For more information, read Lessons From Those Who Live the Longest. This story originally appeared in the 2016 issue of Life 360 magazine. This cultural immersion experience for HHS Extension was made possible through the Monhaut Zmola Award, created and funded with generous support from Paul C. Zmola in honor of his late wife, Gertrude Monhaut Zmola. Participants included Jean Akers from Warren County, Naomi Bechtold from Marion County, Meagan Brothers from Gibson County, Jennifer Cannon from Putnam County, Molly Hoag from Wells County, Jane Horner from Cass County, Kelsie Muller from Benton County, Demarcus Sneed from Madison County, Stephanie Woodcox and Christina Swathwood from campus, and Dr. Nancy Edwards from the School of Nursing. For more information contact Stephanie Woodcox ( or Christina Swathwood (

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Past Programs 


International Programs in Agriculture, 615 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-6876

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