Kevin Duerfeldt

As a student, I participated in travel programs to Europe, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. These experiences were life changing, expanded my world view to consider perspectives of other people, allowed me to think about how global events impact people around the world, and completely changed my career path. As an instructor, I want to make those same opportunities available to my students and continue learning about the world to improve my courses.

Kevin Duerfeldt, Cargill Global Resource Systems Lecturer in Global Resource Systems and the Department of Horticulture has been leading international travel opportunities since 2010. Kevin has led programs to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Uganda, China and Brazil. Below are some reasons why Kevin leads study abroad programs and how he gained an interest in international travel.

When did you start leading programs?

  • I started assisting with and co-leading study abroad programs in 2010 while working with the EARTH Program, St. John, USVI as a graduate assistant.

What programs have you led?

  • EARTH Program St. John USVI 2010-2014
  • Uganda Service Learning Program 2015-2018
  • Global Food and Agriculture China 2016 and 2017
  • Global Food and Agriculture Brazil 2018

Why do you lead programs?

  • As a student, I participated in travel programs to Europe, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica.  These experiences were life changing, expanded my world view to consider perspectives of other people, allowed me to think about how global events impact people around the world, and completely changed my career path.  As an instructor, I want to make those same opportunities available to my students and continue learning about the world to improve my courses.

What would you say to faculty that are considering leading a program?

  • Traveling with students can be both one of the most rewarding and one of the most challenging aspects of teaching at Iowa State University.  On top of the regular course management responsibilities you now have to manage recruitment, travel logistics, and your personal culture/travel shock while helping students through their culture shock.  But, you'll never form as strong of relationships with your students or get to know them in a more meaningful way as you do when traveling abroad with them.  The CALS Study Abroad Office is awesome with helping leaders figure out all aspects of planning and leading travel programs.

What have you learned by leading programs?

  • Leading travel programs has also allowed me to learn about the world and agriculture production in different regions, giving me stories and information to add to my on-campus courses. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

  • I mainly spend time in my garden and play with my Australian shepherd, Arago. I also like to go to events around Ames with friends, and work on my family’s farm in Southeast Nebraska.

How do you encourage students to study abroad?

  • I mainly try to get them to understand that where ever they go it will be a life changing experience and that it will never be as easy to travel as it is now.  Once they’ve gone once they’re usually ready to go again!