International Connections

Emily Ziemke

Major: Elementary Education

Minor/option/emphasis: Endorsements: ESL and Reading

Year: Senior
Hometown, State: IL

Type of experience: Student Teaching
Experience: International Student Teaching
Experience website:
Destination: New Zealand

Overall experience..
My overall experience student teaching in Alexandra, New Zealand was absolutley amazing. Words cannot describe the experience that I had, the knowledge that I gained, or the memories I made. During my 8 weeks teaching at The Terrace School, I was in a year 5/6 classroom, which would be a 4th/5th grade in the United States. I taught these students everything that the school had to offer; reading, math, writing, social studies, P.E, music, language (Maori), art, and computers. The Terrace School was still providing the students with the Maori language (New Zealand's native language) throughout the day in some of their instruction and then also in language classes for the younger students. I learned so much just from being emerged into the culture of the school and the culture of the people. On the weekends and the two week Holiday break, we were able to travel the whole south island and really being able to experience the country. I came into this placement not knowing very much about New Zealand or their education program, now I am able to bring back that knowledge to my school and classroom.

I learned...
I learned about this international opportunity from the study abroad fair. I knew I always wanted to study abroad at some point in my college career, so I looked more into student teaching abroad. I got more information about the program and found out that it was a perfect experience for me.

An impact to my life...
This experience impacted my life like no other. I was able to reflect on myself as a person and a teacher throughout the whole experience.I couldn't have asked for a better experience with student teaching abroad. I learned so much about the culture of New Zealand, the lives of the people that live there, and the curriculum that they use for teaching. Throughout student teaching I was able to gain a better understanding of a different culture and become more culturally proficient. This was able to help me better relate to my students there as well as future students I will have. The teachers there all were able to help me with classroom management and different strategies that best fitted the needs of my students. My goal from this experience is to use the strategies and culture experiences that I learned into my classroom I want to be able to tell my students stories about my experience there and teach them some of the games and traditions that are common in New Zealand.

I will never forget...
It is hard to chose the most memorable experience that I have from the experience because the whole things was amazing. I tried to pick just one but couldn't, so I narrowed it down to three. First, I really enjoyed sitting at home after school with the four other students that I traveled with. We would all cook dinner together and then either played cards or watched a movie. They truly became some of my best friends and I could not imagine that trip without them. We did everything together and I would not have it any other way. Another experience that left a big impact on me was all of us traveling out to Dunedin to meet up with some of the other teachers at the school. They took us out to one of their favorite restaurants and then to a rugby game after. This was just an amazing experience because we were experiencing the culture with Kiwis (native New Zealand people). We grew very close to these teachers and still keep in touch with them now. The third one that is hard to beat is bungee jumping off the first original bungee jump. This was the best/weirdest feeling ever falling 43M. Every experience there is just amazing and hard to forget.

Advice for others...
My advice for any other student who wants to student abroad is to don't think twice. If you want to do it, go for it! This opportunity will probably not present itself to you again. Step out of your comfort zone because it will be the best time of your life. You will gain so many experiences you never imagined, gain forever friends, make memories to last a lifetime, and one day wish that you were back. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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