Bozeman – Montana 4-H welcomed 18 international students from eight countries this month at the organization’s annual congress at Montana State University.
The students will spend three weeks to three months with families across Montana in places like Chester, Glendive, Hinsdale, Plevna and Whitehall, according to Stephanie Davison, program coordinator with Montana 4-H. The students hail from Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The students will help out on their host farms and ranches, participate in everyday Montana life and visit a few of the state’s attractions, Davison said.
“Students are learning farm and ranch practices, with a focus on differences in scale and differences in type of operation between their home operations and operations in Montana,” Davison said.
In addition to hosting international students, Montana 4-H sends students abroad. Those students currently include Randee Shannon from Prairie County, who is spending several months in Finland and Germany; Katie Koterba from Cascade County, who is in the United Kingdom; and Myla Cundall from Glacier County, who will head to Greece in September.
The 4-H international programs are part of MSU Extension and its youth development program. The programs have operated since 1948, when the first delegation traveled from Montana and several other states to European countries for six months.
Known as the International Program for Youth Adults, participants receive a partial scholarship from the Montana 4-H Foundation. The funds come from an endowment set up by one-time participant and former state 4-H director Geraldine Fenn. Fenn was recognized recently as one of 125 extraordinary, ordinary MSU women as part of the university’s 125th anniversary celebration.
“The 4-H international programs are important to MSU’s mission of providing information and knowledge to the people of Montana,” Davison said. “4-H is an experiential learning program, and few things are more experiential than the process of learning from people with different backgrounds who may have different values and customs. The knowledge gained from these experiences is something that can’t be taught in a classroom.”
Partial scholarships are available from the Montana 4-H Foundation for outbound travelers. For more information, contact Davison at firstname.lastname@example.org