Perceived impact of internship and practical training programs on professional and personal growth: implications to agricultural and extension education
The main purpose of this study was to determine and analyze former students' perceptions regarding impact of internship programs at Iowa State University. The secondary purpose was to identify existing practical training programs in Nizhni Novgorod Agricultural Academy, Russia. The third purpose was to identify the implications of determined perceptions for the opportunity to apply a new model of internship programming based on both American and Russian experiences.;This study examined the perceptions of agriculture graduates enrolled in internship and practical training programs of agriculture and agribusiness. Those who are proponents of these paradigms differ drastically in their views of internship impact on students' professional and personal growth, and the companies needed to maintain a productive agriculture in rural America and Russia.;A descriptive mail survey was used to gather the participants' perceptions, using the SPSSRTM statistical package. Descriptive research also involved testing hypotheses to answer questions concerning differences of impact of internship and practical training programs in the U.S.A. and Russia.;The findings revealed that interns in the U.S.A. held views similar to interns in Russia. They largely agreed that experiential learning program participants had an interest in working with agriculture before internship participation, and their preferences working in crop/livestock production was beneficial to them in their first professional position.;Findings indicated that internships and practical training programs impacted the professional and personal growth as well as professional and personal skills development of the participants. Respondents supported statements about the impact of internship/practical training programs on a company and no significant difference between the two groups was found.;It was concluded that students perceive lower needs for their participation in internships than they perceive companies have need for interns in the U.S.A. Russian students perceive higher needs for their participation in practical training programs than they perceive companies have for interns.;Recommendations for further research on curriculum improvement of internship and practical training programs were made. The investigator of this research was very sympathetic to create a new universal educational model for Russian and American universities in agricultural education by preparing students for productive lives following graduation from college.