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School of Education extends teach abroad opportunities for students

Thursday, December 10, 2015

LAWRENCE — In an effort to support the internationalization of the teaching profession, the University of Kansas School of Education has extended its study and teach abroad opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate education students by partnering again with the University of Missouri College of Education. The continuing program provides experiences that allow students opportunities to study in new regions of the world: India and South Africa.

“It is imperative that 21st century teachers expand their own understanding of the world and of people who are ethnically, religiously, linguistically and overall culturally different from them as classrooms in many countries, and certainly in the United States, are serving children and families from diverse origins,” said Kelli Thomas, associate dean for undergraduate and teacher education programs.

The School of Education now offers six study/teach abroad opportunities for students. They include:

  1. Carpi, Italy
  2. San Jose, Costa Rica
  3. Seoul, South Korea
  4. Havana, Cuba
  5. Bangalore, India
  6. Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa

By providing unique educational and cultural opportunities to pre-service teachers and graduate students in education, KU’s academic programs will further benefit from, and contribute to, the internationalization of the education profession. As presented in the 2015 Open Doors Report, education majors studying abroad constituted only 3.7 percent of all U.S. college students participating in this type of experience. Given that 53 percent of U.S. college students studying abroad travel to European destinations, the percentage of education students studying in richly diverse areas such as India and the African continent is even smaller still.

“Partnering with peer institutions across the U.S. to expand the geographic, disciplinary or experiential breadth of opportunities available to students is an effective strategy for growing participation in study abroad,” said Angela Perryman, director of the Office of Study Abroad.

KU students can also take advantage of the global competence and self-awareness learning that is built into the experiences through credit-bearing curriculum that encompasses fieldwork, guided reflection, service and cultural immersion. Many of these study/teach abroad programs were created under the ideal of providing education students an “out of the box” experience that would set them on a personal transformational pathway. Also, because the programs are offered during the summer, they act to enhance the academic year experiences for education students and do not remove students from the established progression in their individual degree programs.

KU students will begin establishing a global network for intercultural collaborations in their education careers. They will have an opportunity to directly engage with students and educators in some of the most diverse areas of the world, and they will bring those teaching experiences back to KU as well as their future schools. They will have a truly unique experience that will affect their lives and set them apart from their peers when competing for jobs, fellowships or admittance into graduate programs.

While the primary goal of the new programs s to provide an international teaching experience to pre-service teachers, presence in schools abroad also contributes to the awareness of the Midwestern universities to educators, students and families who might know very little about Kansas. By participating in study/teach abroad programs in education, KU students can expect to: 

  • Become immersed in the culture of the host country and gain meaningful intercultural experiences that go beyond typical tourist or traditional study abroad experiences;
  • Gain a rich understanding of the educational system of the host country;
  • Practice teaching and classroom management skills in settings different than those offered through domestic field experiences;
  • Challenge individual perceptions of the American educational system;
  • Reflect on teaching philosophies and expand them to include a more global perspective;
  • Contribute to efforts of partner schools and agencies to provide students and teachers with a global perspective on education.

The School of Education is nationally ranked, serving educators to prepare them as leaders. For more information on the study/teach abroad opportunities, please visit soe.ku.edu/study-abroad.


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#1 public program in nation for special education
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Assists public schools and other partners in all 105 Kansas counties
$938,377 in scholarship funds awarded to 420+ students
Research expenditures of $36,804,773 for 2011-12
Research from KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, assists educators, children, and families across the United States
The award-winning special education faculty published 140 refereed articles, 11 books, and 60 chapters in 2015-16
Students with intellectual disabilities are participating in KU undergraduate programs through a grant-funded KU special education program
Researchers on a $3.5 million grant are collecting data on an innovative reading program designed to teach reading to students with the most significant disabilities in seven Kansas school districts
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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