International Connections

Sydnee Reid

Major: Elementary Education

Year: Senior
Hometown, State: Washington State

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

Overall experience..
Teaching in New Zealand has taught me so much about the world and about education. I didn’t expect when I got on the plane to New Zealand that I would experience so much culture shock, since it is an English speaking country, but it is a completely different culture. There are words that are used commonly in the United States that aren’t used in New Zealand at all like; fanny pack, swimsuit, bandaid, and eraser. This experience has helped me become so much more aware of the world around me, and that even though we are speaking the same language, meanings and cultures are completely different.

I learned...
I learned about teaching international at the very start of my freshman year, and every single semester after I attended the international student teaching open house.

An impact to my life...
New Zealand is one of the most literate countries in the world and the evidence for why that is clear to see in primary schools. Every student gets an individualized reading curriculum and group that are on a similar level. Students get a new book to practice everyday, and with each new book comes a new skill or strategy. When I have my own classroom, I want to implement a similar system. Just in the eight weeks that I was in New Zealand, I saw the students make huge progress in their reading.

My most valuable learning experience...
I have learned so much about global culture. For example, in New Zealand the indigenous people are Maori, and they incredibly valued. The Maori language and traditions are taught in schools. I want to bring that same respect for Native Americans to my future classroom. The opportunity to travel abroad to New Zealand was truly a once in a life time experience.

I will never forget...
Just getting to be in New Zealand is an amazing memorable experience, seeing the South Island every weekend and taking in all of the culture and beautiful landscapes.

A surprising discovery...
Teaching in the New Zealand is so much different than in the United States. Instead of having grades in school, they have years and students have the same teacher for two years in a row. The difference is easiest to see in older years, teachers are required to teach all subjects including; art, music, and physical education. In the equivalent of middle school, New Zealand teachers teach every single subject. Having the knowledge of how schools are run in New Zealand gives me perspective on the United States educational system

Advice for others...
It is an absolute opportunity of a lifetime, do it! It's worth every moment of missing home and family. I have learned so much about myself and the kind of teacher I strive to be while in New Zealand.

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