Highlights from International Initiatives
One of the best things about studying and teaching abroad is that you can bring your experiences back home and share with anyone! Check out these blogs created by our student teachers who went to China, Brazil, Russia, Costa Rica and see what they have to share!
Click here to read about a student’s first-hand experience student teaching in China!
Why should education majors study abroad?
Can I afford it? How does this fit into my major? How do I get started? What other options do I have for international education if study abroad isn’t an option for me? How can I share my study abroad experience with K-8 students in NC? See our Study Abroad FAQ document to find the answers to these questions and visit theStudy Abroad Website to begin your search for your study abroad program!
From Guatemala to China:
Covering the Globe Teaching Abroad
Nicole Melendez recently won a grant that allowed her to go on the trip of a lifetime. Melendez, a senior in elementary education, originally planned to study abroad in Guatemala to complete her minor in Spanish. However her plans quickly changed when she won a grant that enabled her to focus on literacy in Guatemala.
Melendez won the Fellowship Advising Office Enhancement Grant through the Honors Program. The grant was created last year to allow five students to pursue independent academic activity over the summer. It was so successful that the grant will be offered again.
At first Melendez was apprehensive about receiving the grant. “I had never done a project where I designed the guidelines,” she said, “so I decided to recruit assistance from advisors and professors I had worked with in the past.” She was extremely thankful for all of the help and support she received.
The program Melendez designed with her grant allowed her to take literacy supplies to a rural town in Guatemala to write culturally relevant books with students. The students ranged in age from eight to fifteen. Sixteen of the students completed books. The completed books were then printed with a copy given to the student, given to the school, and kept on Melendez’s hard drive to be translated.
“For most students, this was the first book they had ever owned,” Melendez said as she explained the importance of allowing the students to keep a copy of their books. “It will also serve as a continuation of their culture and be something to pass down to their children one day.”
The experience Melendez gained from her trip was invaluable. She learned a lot about the importance of communication in the classroom. “Students who spoke English could nod, but just because they nodded didn’t mean they understood,” Melendez explained as she discussed communication barriers. However as Melendez continued her time in Guatemala she realized that, “sometimes you need to use pictures, repeat yourself a couple times, or have them say your directions back to you.” That way, you can see if they understand, or if further instructions are needed.
Melendez also came to realize on her trip that, “I can do this without technology. While technology serves as a great tool, I can make material just as fun and engaging without it.” This realization was extremely encouraging to Melendez who knows that as a teacher with not as much classroom experience, she is less likely to have access to a technology filled classroom.
Currently Melendez is in her last year at NCSU. She plans to complete her student teaching in China during the Spring of 2013. Afterwards she has a variety of plans on the horizon including Teach for America, teaching overseas, or possibly teaching in Raleigh. Her advice for anyone who receives the grant in the future is to, “be flexible and take advantage of your contacts. My professors are the ones who got me through the legalities of the grant. I couldn’t have done it by myself.”
The International Distance Education Alliance office can help students facilitate traveling and studying abroad and student teaching abroad.
Written by Rebecca Hauser, senior, communications