Major: Elementary Education
Minor/option/emphasis: Special Education (Endorsement)
Hometown, State: Altoona, IA
Type of experience: International Student Teaching
Experience: International Student Teaching-Ecuador
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=IntlTeaching
My experience in Ecuador was more incredible than I could have ever anticipated. I was not sure what to expect prior to my departure to a new country, but ended up falling in love with the city of Cuenca and CEDEI School. The program made a schedule for student teachers that kept us busy even when we were away from the classroom. Not only did I have the opportunity to experience the community's culture in a school setting, but also through several excursions within the program.
At the end of my junior year, I had an opportunity to participate in a practicum in Houston, Texas with Aldine Schools and absolutely loved the experience. Afterward, I had many of the program advisors suggest that I apply for International Student Teaching in the fall of my senior year. I applied and interviewed with an open mind, and was eventually selected to participate in the Ecuador program.
An impact to my life...
One of my biggest goals in college was to experience teaching in a classroom in another country, and this program gave me the opportunity to accomplish that goal. This experience showed me how different the education system is in the United States from other countries. I learned countless things about myself as a teacher that will be applicable in my future classroom.
A surprising discovery...
Prior to my departure to Ecuador, I did not know what type of cultural experience I would encounter during my visit. One of the first things I learned was how many different cultures there are within the country. This made me realize how many cultures there are in the world, and how few I have been exposed to in the United States. When I have my own classroom, I will be sure to incorporate various cultural lessons for my students.
Advice for others...
Just go for it! Keep an open mind and have a positive outlook. The experiences you will encounter and the people you will meet are all priceless.