International Connections


Katie Irwin

Major: Elementary Education



Year: Senior
Hometown, State: DeWitt, IA

Type of experience: Study Abroad
Experience: School of Education in Rome
Experience website: https://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=CHSSOERome
Destination: Italy

Overall experience..
My overall experience was incredible. I was not only able to see the similarities and differences between the Italian school system and United States school system but I was able to dive into the Italian culture as well.

I learned...
I first learned about this international opportunity by my professor in the fall of 2019.

An impact to my life...
My experience in Italy has opened my eyes to many different cultures and experiences. I loved interacting with the students and getting to know what their day to day looks like. We were also able to meet students from the States that were enrolled at the Rome International School. These students were excited to see us because they could relate to us. This helped me realize what some students not from the United States may feel like in our own classrooms.

My most valuable learning experience...
The most valuable learning experience I encountered was understanding how different cultures look at education. Also, the different classroom management strategies teachers use to focus students. Italian teachers believe the students are in charge of their own learning and when they are talking the students can decide if they will talk to other peers or take control of their learning and take in the material being taught. The U.S. teaches students to be quiet while a teacher is talking because it helps all students learn.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience was a weekend excursion with my best friends to Athens, Greece. We planned to travel to another country on one of our free weekends. This trip was one I will never forget. We were able to see many of the ancient ruins, understand another culture, and appreciate the world around us!

A surprising discovery...
One thing I did not expect was the lack of special education the schools have in Italy, specifically the school we were in. This made me realize how fortunate we are in the United States to be able to support all students and give them the accommodations they need to be successful.

Advice for others...
My advice for other students would be to study abroad if you are given the opportunity. Traveling abroad to study something you are passionate about (like teaching) will help you gain a better appreciation of your area of study.

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