Studying abroad may be one of the most rewarding college experiences, especially if it helps students land their first job– something that happened recently for three College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Through a partnership with COEHS and Educators Abroad Student Teaching (EAST), Carly Vanden Heuvel, Andrea Meyer and Steffani Meusburger spent their last quarter student teaching overseas–living, working and growing in a new culture.
Vanden Heuvel, a secondary education student, completed her student teaching at Hymers College in Northern Enlgand. During her time there, she grew both personally and professionally. On a personal level, she said she found a new sense of independence.
“I took full advantage of an opportunity to see more of the world, and it is the best experience I have ever had, ”Vanden Heuvel said .
As for her professional growth: “Knowing that I successfully represented myself as a teacher in a different country gives me confidence going into my first year of professional teaching,” she said.
Meyer, an elementary/special education student, traveled to Prague, Czech Republic. Working with the staff and students at the Prague British School gave her the opportunity to work with diverse populations of students and opened her eyes to different ways of teaching.
“My international teaching experience encouraged me to try new things, even if they were out of her comfort zone.” Meyer said.
Meusburger, an elementary education student, went out of her comfort zone when she decided to travel outside of the United States for the first time to complete her student teaching at the Rolling Hills Primary School in Australia.
“Over the past semester, I have grown so much from all of the different settings that I have been in, and I am so glad that I was able to go overseas to Australia to renew my faith in myself as an initial educator,” Meusburger said.
With a new perspective and confidence in teaching, the candidates applied, interviewed and secured their first jobs while abroad. Vanden Heuvel and Meyer applied through the Wisconsin Education Career Access Network (WECAN), a virtual hiring environment for Wisconsin K-12 school districts and applicants.
Each candidate interviewed via a combination of phone, Skype and Google Hangouts, and believes being abroad helped their resumes and interviews stand out.
This fall, VandeHeuvel will be working for the Appleton Area School District.
“The school said they were looking for someone who is keen on technology, so being abroad actually helped me,” she said.
Meyer will be working in Siren as a kindergarten teacher. Muesburger will be teaching in Phoenix, Arizona.