Can Education Majors Study Abroad?
When you think of a study abroad experience, what first comes to mind? Interacting with locals, being exposed to new languages, and sightseeing might come to mind. After completing a semester abroad, a student will have a new outlook on cultural norms, language, and daily life.
A student of any major could benefit from such an eye-opening learning opportunity. Take education majors, for instance. Today’s teachers must learn to teach students of various languages, cultural differences, and family situations. There is a lot that aspiring teachers can glean from observing teachers and practicing their skills in another context. Through student teaching abroad, education majors gain global fluency, creativity in lesson planning, and a new perspective on the education system in general.
So, can education majors study abroad at Grace College? Yes! Read on to hear from an education major looking forward to her student teaching abroad and an alumnus reflecting back on her experience.
Kira Bertke: Pre-Student Teaching Abroad Experience
Status: Current Student
Location: International Community School (ICS) in Bangkok, Thailand
Teaching Assignment: Middle School Math
Why Thailand? Tell us a little about the process of choosing to student teach abroad.
ICS is a private Christian school in Thailand. I am really looking forward to the way the Lord will open doors for me to bring His word into a school setting. I have been to Thailand before on a mission trip, and I know the Lord has called me back there for a reason. I cannot wait to see how He moves and uses me through this experience.
What do you anticipate to be the biggest difference about teaching in Bangkok?
The biggest difference I expect to see might be the priorities of what is to be taught in the school system. I don’t know much about the education program there, but I’m excited to learn and see the differences in how they teach and what areas are emphasized. But I believe the teachers’ care, concern, and love for the children will be similar to what I’ve seen in the U.S.
Do you feel prepared for student teaching abroad?
Yes! My classes at Grace have given me plenty of time in the classroom, getting hands-on experience in writing and teaching lesson plans, and understanding how to meet the needs of all of my learners. My professors have given me valuable knowledge of what the classroom will be like and what to expect. They have prepared me well through the curriculum of each class I’ve taken. They have loved me as a student, demonstrating how I can love those whom I will be teaching as well.
Brittany Tadesse: Post-Student Teaching Abroad Experience
Major: Elementary Education
Location: Rafiki School in Ghana
Teaching Assignment: Second Grade Classroom
Why Ghana? Tell us a little about the process of choosing to student teach abroad.
I wanted to go into teaching for the purpose of doing mission work. In high school, I went on a mission trip to Romania and Mexico to teach Bible camps, and my Go Encounter to South Korea was focused on teaching. I enjoy change and love to experience new cultures, so one of the questions at the forefront of my mind was, “Can education majors study abroad?” Once I got to Grace and heard that this was an option, I was so excited! I remember getting the email that I was approved to go to Ghana. I was in my dorm room, and I started crying because I knew that was where God wanted me to be.
What was different about teaching in Ghana compared to teaching in the U.S.?
A big difference I saw was the discrepancy in supplies. In the U.S., teachers have a wide variety of manipulatives, school supplies, and visual aids for their lessons. There were not a lot of supplies available in Ghana, so I had to get really creative. The challenge was, “How can I make this creative and fun without taking away from their culture and what they need to be prepared for life in Ghana?” When I got my first teaching job in the U.S., I remember always feeling bad for throwing supplies away because of what I saw in Ghana.
What did you learn from your supervising teacher in Ghana?
Her name was Madame Baba. She rode the bus for four hours to get to and from the school. I remember her being so kind and taking the time to educate me about the culture so that my lessons would stick better with the kids. She always had such a good attitude, and I knew that her home life was not easy, so I had so much respect for her.
How did the School of Education at Grace prepare you for student teaching abroad?
My education at Grace was such an amazing experience, and it helped me a lot as I transitioned into Ghanaian culture. Teaching is a lot of work, and the School of Education prepared me for the workload. They help you practice managing your time well and handling a big workload. They also taught me to love the students first because you never know what they are coming into the classroom with.
You asked; we answered. Can education majors study abroad? At Grace College, yes, they can! Learn more about our School of Education and read recent stories about professors, students, and alumni. Read about Grace’s education pathway to learn more about what you’ll experience as an education major.