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Study abroad experiences lead to career with Disney conservation education for Purdue Ag alumna

Studying abroad can be an incredible, life-changing experience. Purdue Agriculture offers programs in numerous locations for varying lengths of time, available to any major and grade level. For one Purdue Ag alumna, her experiences led to invaluable memories, experiences and benefits.


From a young age, Ashley Dittman harbored a love for wildlife and a passion for conservation. As she pursued her degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, an opportunity arose to study abroad.

In 2018, her sophomore year, Ashley studied abroad at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia for a semester. During the summer of 2019, she traveled to Belize on a coral reef conservation program.

Ashley returned home from her international stays with a newfound sense of confidence and independence. The benefits of studying abroad were not limited to academic achievements; they extended to personal growth, cultural enrichment and a broader worldview. The challenges of adapting to new cultures and navigating unfamiliar places helped her develop resilience, independence and a profound sense of self-discovery.

“My passion and career focus are on the marine environment and by going abroad I was able to do hands-on experience involving the ocean.”

Today, Ashley works as a conservation educator at Walt Disney World’s Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Her journey from studying abroad to working for Disney as a conservationist was nothing short of magical. Ashley collaborates with experts developing educational programs and implementing initiatives to promote wildlife conservation. She aims to inspire others to appreciate and protect the natural world, just as her study abroad experience inspired her.

Dittman educating guests at oceanarium

“My recommendation for Purdue students is to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. If there is a trip that even remotely interests you, go to the info session and try to go on the trip. Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you while you’re in school because once you’re out those opportunities rarely present themselves again. Plus, you might discover something new about yourself and you’ll have memories that will last a lifetime!”


Take advantage of Purdue Ag’s study abroad opportunities. Adventure awaits! Learn more HERE.

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