International Connections

Patrick Stanek

Major: Teacher Licensure (Secondary Education)

Minor/option/emphasis: Coaching

Year: Senior
Hometown, State: McHenry, Illinois

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

Overall experience..
New Zealand was an incredible experience. I student taught at Dunstan High School for 8 weeks. I got to learn all about the Kiwi culture, school system, and different ways to teach mathematics. I had the opportunity to travel to different parts of New Zealand and utilize my time there. It was great to experience the country outside of my studying and work. I wish there was more time to travel, but due to the time of year that I went, there was not any designated time in the school’s schedule. Overall, the experience was something I will never forget. New Zealand is the type of place where you have to specifically plan to visit. In Europe, you can venture to other countries. New Zealand is a very prideful country. For the size of the two-part island, they take a great deal of pride in their culture and history. Everyone was always very welcoming, no matter where we were. They are used to a lot of travelers in their country, so when they found out I was a foreigner, they had a lot of questions, but were very respectful. A lot of Kiwis are intrigued about the American culture and want to know if their assumptions are correct. It was interesting to hear their viewpoints. Overall, it was a great experience that will never be competed with.

I learned...
I attended the International Student Teaching Open House.

An impact to my life...
It has given me a different view on other cultures, along with helping me find different techniques to use in my classroom.

My most valuable learning experience...
The most valuable learning experience was what I learned in the pubs in New Zealand. People are very open about their opinions and ask a lot of questions. I learned how people view the United States and how to change that attitude.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience was learning the traditional Haka because it shows so much about the culture and has a strong meaning and history behind each one.

A surprising discovery...
The school system includes a lot of breaks throughout the day instead of going from class to class non-stop. In classes, I will include breaks periodically throughout the class, even just a couple minutes will help the students regroup.

Advice for others...
Travel and do not be afraid to ask questions or talk to new people. I learned more about New Zealand outside of school than I did during the actual Student Teaching experience.

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