Experiences from Past Travels:

Ethiopia - Bill Horan, Wells County

Bill Horan (Wells County), Scott Monroe (Daviies County) and Hans Schmitz (Gibson County) travelled to Ethiopia to Ethiopia for two weeks in 2012 for a two weeks, to teach soil management and fertility, livestock production, and horticulture to a team of nuns and female student-orphans at the Sebeta Getesemani Convent and Orphanage. This program, was designed to help the convent become more self-sufficient in their vegetable and fruit production enterprises in order to help sustain their school and orphanage.


“Creativity is strengthened as you use “non-traditional” teaching methods. I had to resort to drawing on a chalkboard and field demonstrations instead of PowerPoint presentations and printed publications.”

Costa Rica

In 2011, Purdue Extension educators traveled to Costa Rica in three separate groups for two weeks at a time. They are: J.W. Fansler, Scott County; Scott Monroe, Daviess County; Ed Farris, eth.jpgHuntington County; Carmen DeRusha, Marion County; Amy Thompson, Monroe County; Stacy Clupper, Blackford County; Kris Parker, Porter County; Bill Horan, Wells County; and Margie Zoglmann, Perry County. In 2012, Thompson, DeRusha and Parker returned to Costa Rica with three other educators: Amanda Chraca, LaPorte County; Melinda Grismer, Clinton County; and Miranda Ulery, Harrison County. The Educators worked with 40 of the nearly 250 families that make up the Asociación de Productores Orgánicos de Turrialba (Turrialba Organic Producers Association), or APOT. APOT farmers grow organic products such as coffee, cacao, citrus fruits and livestock. Purdue Extension educators meet with APOT farmers and host workshops to share agricultural and business practices commonly used in the United States.

"I now better understand the value of hands-on demonstration, especially where language barriers to understanding may exist.”

Costa Rica - Scott Monroe, Daviess County

"Being away from my usual professional resources and support challenges me to use all of my training and then some! I met another American - a retired International Ag Prof. from Colorado State. Our discussions opened up for me a view of worldwide and smallholder agriculture that I never had before."

Costa Rica - Kris Parker, Porter County

"Do you ever get nervous going into a presentation to a new audience? I still do, every time. But all my intercultural experiences have helped me reduce that time between meeting someone as a stranger and finding some connection point.”

etho.jpgA group of us presented to main audience at the Midwest Women in Ag Conference in Shipshewana, Indiana, in February of 2012 on our recent travels to Costa Rica through the Farmer-to-Farmer program. It was a participatory presentation incorporating instant audience polling. We were able to take the audience with us on a mini-tour of our Costa Rican travels, and ask them questions along the way related to agriculture, women’s roles, travel.
Going into the presentation, I wasn’t sure how engaged the audience would be. I learned that audiences can be very engaged in international work, intercultural learning, and new experiences if we present them in an accessible way—focusing on the common interests of people and joys and challenges in their daily lives. I have shared about my Costa Rican experiences with our Extension Board and our Area PCARET (volunteer advocates) group, my family and friends, even our Stronger Economies Together group. Inevitably someone will follow up afterward with great interest in learning more. For some, it has been the program that they most remember about my work—because the setting and the details are so different. In reality, the work itself was very similar to the types of organizational development I deal with regularly, but the context makes it compelling, and a great conversation starter about Extension.

Costa Rica - Melinda Grismer, Clinton County

While working with the organic food co-op in Costa Rica, I learned how to help facilitate, build capacity, and do board development. I’m using that experience locally to develop a small soccer club in Frankfort with Indiana Soccer and our Spanish-speaking small business owners.”

Costa Rica - Carmen DeRusha, Marion County

"I learned that success means to help and support people to find their own way to reach their outcomes. I learned and practiced being creative and flexible with program content and methods."
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For more information, contact:

Andrea Burniske
International Extension Program Coordinator
Ph.: 765-494-9831
E-mail: andreaburniske@purdue.edu