Global experiences available for student educators


Courtesy of Catie Funk

Student teachers from Iowa State take a moment for a class photo while working in Taiwan.

Courtney Sowder

If any ISU education majors prefer sauerkraut and strudel to lasagna and spaghetti they’re in luck.

Two new locations — Germany and Taiwan — are now being offered to student teachers, in addition to Ecuador, New Zealand, Poland, Italy and Norway.

Ann Pierce, clinical experience coordinator, said students in the School of Education have a lot of work packed into their four years at Iowa State.

“It’s not easy to get a global experience, so we designed the international teaching program to meet this need,” Pierce said.

Pierce said students must complete an application and interview process. If they’re accepted and have successfully completed their first eight weeks teaching in America future educators will be able to finish student teaching in one of the international locations.

“We try to send as many students as possible,” Pierce said. “Everyone comes back different. They grow up a lot. They learn new ideas and independence.”

Each location is different and the site director matches the experience to the individual student.

For instance, Poland doesn’t have options for primary education teachers and trips to Germany are only available in the fall. Ecuador has a dual language track, which enables fluent students to teach in Spanish as well as English. Every site has different opportunities and options, so there is a match for everyone.

Students receive support from their individual ISU faculty member. They develop a close relationship with the students and visit the site, watching them teach and giving feedback to evaluate them based on Iowa’s standards.

The costs for the program vary depending on the location. Students pay for their own tuition, flight, program fee, housing and personal expenses. Some places offer students free housing.

“It’s almost like an episode of ‘Survivor,'” Pierce said. “We send a small group of students to a site. Most of the time they bond well and discover new things about themselves. Some have a hard time readjusting and miss it terribly once they return.”

There are also different opportunities to sightsee and travel or take language and cultural classes. You can read about student experiences here: