International Connections


Matthew Kozlowski

Major: Teacher Licensure (Secondary Education)


Minor/option/emphasis: English as a Second Language

Year: Senior

Type of experience: Student Teaching
Experience: International Student Teaching
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=IntlTeaching
Destination: Norway

Overall experience..
I spent 8 weeks living in Rosendal, Norway. During the course of these weeks I managed to fall in love with the people, the students, and, of course, the landscape. I completed the second half of my student teaching experience during this program. I was responsible for mainly English courses at the school. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and will certainly miss all of the skiing and hiking, but what I will miss most of all are the students and teachers that made this the most memorable 8 weeks of my life.

I learned...
I heard it mentioned by one of my professors during my sophomore year of college. I thought that it was interesting so I asked my adviser about how I could get involved. I found out that my department typically did not send students to student abroad for their student teaching, so I had to begin working immediately to show that I was a qualified candidate that they could trust to work abroad.

An impact to my life...
This experience showed me that there is so much more out there in the world. I learned the values and beliefs of a different culture. The biggest "wake up call" I received was with regards to language. I realized that I was at a disadvantage compared to the students I was teaching since I had command of only one language. It felt like I was missing limb sometimes and nothing has ever motivated me more to learn another language than this experience. Finally, this experience has led me to want to work abroad for a portion of my teaching career, there is just so much to be gained.

I will never forget...
It is impossible to pick out one experience as the most memorable, but if there was one time period, I would say the last week of school. It was absolutely crazy to walk into the classrooms and see the outpouring of love and gratitude that the students had for me! It was the wrong way around, I should have been the one thanking them for all that they taught me and for allowing me to be in their classrooms. It turns out that this was a mutually beneficial experience, the students learned from me and I learned from them.

Advice for others...
The best piece of advice that I can give students that want to study abroad is to be open. You need to be going there ready and willing to learn and the best way to do this is with a try anything attitude. If you show interest in the people's culture and desire to partake in their favorite activities you will find that you will be provided with endless opportunities and experiences. You are only limited by your own comfort zone when studying abroad, so take the time to immerse yourself in the culture and the lives of the people there. They will be more than eager to show off their country and favorite places.

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