Opportunities Abroad

Allison Hoover didn’t quite know what she was getting herself into when she traveled to Costa Rica with Penn State’s Spanish for the Agricultural Sciences program.

Allison Hoover with horses on a study abroad program in Costa Rica. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ALLISON HOOVER


The Agricultural and Extension Education major went with ten other Penn State students to the city of Turrialba to strengthen their Spanish language skills and explore the diverse agriculture of Costa Rica’s central valley—a perfect fit for Hoover, who has minors in international agriculture and Spanish.

A grant through the College of Agricultural Sciences Office of International Programs helped.

“The grant is available to students in the international agriculture minor and the Schreyer Honors College to do thesis research abroad during the summer,” she explains. “My project described secondary agricultural education in the area where we were staying.”

Hoover stayed two weeks longer than the rest of the students to do her research.

“I spent quite a few days at a technical agriculture school outside of town, observing classes and talking to students and teachers,” she says. “There was also a local high school in town, which has an agriculture class that all students are required to take.”

She talked to teachers, made connections, and learned about Costa Rica’s public education system.

On a program excursion to earth University, an international school dedicated to agricultural science, Hoover found the next step in her academic career: a study-abroad experience there next summer.

Earth (Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda) University offers technical agriculture classes, which all are taught in Spanish, Hoover notes. “I will be at a campus with students from all over the world. I’m excited about that because the language and the culture really interest me.”

Hoover hopes to use her education and research to focus on global agricultural development through education and extension, especially in Spanish-speaking parts of the world.