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Globalizing Agriculture Education#AgEd2Korea: Janae Bickhart, Agriculture and Extension Education

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Posted: October 19, 2014

By working through language barriers, experiencing a new culture and new traditions, and learning to appreciate routines unlike my own, I began to realize that there is always more than one way to do something, or to teach a lesson.
Janae and her Korean teaching partner

Janae and her Korean teaching partner

They say that life begins outside of your comfort zone and the only way to begin your journey is to take the first step.  Though it may be a scary step to take, every minute that follows is a memory made and worth the time.  The first step outside of my own comfort zone was when I set foot on the plane to Seoul, South Korea.

For one month, I, along with seven of my Penn State peers, traveled to The Republic of Korea with eight certified Agricultural Educators and four faculty members from Penn State University and the University of Florida.  Our focus was on studying the ideology and methods of Korean School-Based Agriculture Education.  Korea was the perfect place to learn about agriculture education; it’s a nation with an agriculture curriculum similar to the programs in the United States, but is still wonderfully unique and enriched with culture and tradition.

FFK

Over the course of our study abroad, each day was filled with professional development opportunities.  We traveled all over the country visiting agricultural high schools and universities that offer degrees in agriculture education.  The most unique experience, and what I believe to be one of the most valuable opportunities of the trip, was the time we spent teaching agricultural literacy lessons to the Korean high school students.  As a pre-service agriculture teacher, the experience of teaching in a diverse classroom, faced withed the challenge of a language barrier, will be something I will recall in the future when working with students from diverse backgrounds.  I would be proud to share photos, lessons, and materials developed during my study abroad with potential employers in my professional portfolio.

In addition to further developing my skills as an educator, began to develop my own global competency.  A globally competent person has the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to engage in global issues and situation, an invaluable skill for an agriculture educator.  By working through language barriers, experiencing a new culture and new traditions, and learning to appreciate routines unlike my own, I began to realize that there is always more than one way to do something, or to teach a lesson.

“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page.”  As a student of the College of Agriculture and who has experienced a travel abroad, I encourage each Penn State student to turn the page in their own book, step outside of their comfort zone, and study abroad.