We asked one of our current student teaching participants to take a moment out of their schedule and give us some of her personal impressions of Student Teaching in the United Kingdom.
Student Teaching in the United Kingdom Participant
I’m Carly Vanden Heuvel, and I am currently in my final year of college at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where I am earning my Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education/English. My biggest passions are reading and writing, and I have found that there is no better way to experience these passions than by sharing them with others through teaching. I enjoy leading discussion-based classes where students have the freedom to collaborate with one another and explore their own creativity. I also enjoy taking my experience from the UWO Writing Center and using it to work one-on-one with students on the writing process.
After hearing about Educators Abroad Student Teaching, I felt like student teaching in a different country would be a unique challenge that I was ready for. I pride myself on being adaptable in my teaching, and what better way to hone that skill than to teach in a different country? Even more, I believe that living abroad will give me the opportunity to become a better-rounded, culturally aware individual. I cannot wait to teach and learn from my students in England!
What made you chose a student teaching programme abroad?
I have always wanted to experience the adventure of living in another country. The amount of time that my student teaching placement requires feels like the perfect amount of time to spend abroad. Furthermore, this is a really great culminating experience to end my teacher education with. In my opinion, the more varied my teaching experience, the better teacher I become.
What were you most apprehensive about before going?
I have never been away from my family for this long, and I was nervous that I would miss my family and friends back home. I also knew I would be missing my commencement ceremony. However, I only have a few weeks left here and I feel like it’s gone extremely fast. I actually wish I had a bit more time. Really enjoyed Student Teaching in the United Kingdom. My family came to visit, which was really nice. Also, I spent my commencement day taking an overnight ferry trip from Hull to Amsterdam with the fellow Educators Abroad Student Teacher participant that I am living with, so I was not at all upset about missing it.
What have you enjoyed most about your trip?
Getting to know my students here has been really enjoyable, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel to several cities and countries that I will never forget.
What surprised you the most on your trip?
I was surprised by the similarities I found between my students here in England and students I’ve taught in the US. I came to realize that kids are kids in every country. They have the same struggles, quirks, and goofy personalities.
Have you got one stand out experience you would like to share with us?
In school, my favourite experience has been attending assemblies to see and hear about the talents of our entire student body. I feel like I have become part of the school community and I enjoy everyone being in one place. Outside of school, my favourite experience was traveling to Edinburgh for a weekend. I fell in love with the city and met amazing people there.
What impressions did you take away from the country?
I may be generalizing, but I have found the people of England to be welcoming and proud while humorously self-deprecating. I never realized how much variation there is between the cities and counties within England. Everyone I meet tells me a new place I have to travel to, and every city I go to has a personality of its own.
What was the most unusual thing you ate/drank?
I had mutton in Scotland. At the time I had no idea what I was eating, but it was delicious.
What cultural learnings did you take away from your trip?
I learned that people tend to be very proud of their culture and the best way to learn about a new place is to immerse myself in it by communicating with the people who live there. Much of what I understand about England I learned by asking my fellow teachers questions. Much of what I learned about other countries I have visited was learned through conversations with locals.
What piece of advice would you give any prospective student teachers who are thinking about going abroad?
First, stop thinking and weighing pros and cons and just do it. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Second, be open-minded about where you may end up. I ended up teaching in a city that wouldn’t have been my first choice, and I am so happy with where I live and the school I’m teaching in.
Would you recommend our services to others? if so, what was most useful to you?
Yes, I would. The process of getting placed in a school was so easy due to EducatorsAbroad student teaching’s connections to the school that I’m teaching in. I don’t know how else I could have arranged to teach here. I would definitely recommend Student Teaching in the United Kingdom.
If you would like to find out more about our services, such as Student Teaching in the United Kingdom, please do get in touch and one of our advisors will help.