- Studied abroad as a Post-Baccalaureate student/Graduate student for Education
- Involved in the Professional Development School (PDS)
I leapt on the option to finish the second half of my student teaching abroad, and I would encourage ALL student teachers to pursue this option. I hated leaving my two cooperating teachers at Manheim Township High School, who were experts, and all of my students, but it was So. Worth. It. for me as a teacher and a person to take advantage of this opportunity!
I chose Cape Town, South Africa, because it had been on my bucket list for so long, and I was delighted to find out that apart from the ticket, it was much cheaper to go there than to Europe. Cape Town is such a beautiful town–no bad views with the mountains and the ocean!–and very cheap, and South Africa is stunning. Very early in my stay I climbed Table Mountain, which is no small feat! The photo is of me after my 6-hour hike up the mountain to the cable car station, my two big trips from the three months that I was there, a 5-day safari in Kruger Park in eastern South Africa, and a 4-day tour of the Garden Route much closer to home, in the Western Cape. I got to hold the Western Cape Vulture as part of my safari package, and the elephants and beach photos are highlights of the Garden Route trip.
I jumped right from my trips into my student teaching, where I did my best to adjust to a vastly different education system, and it was not always easy to take the methods I’d learned at Township and apply them to my classes in Cape Town. But oh, I bonded so quickly with my students, who were much more engaged in learning and in classroom discussion than I had expected. The photo I included is the last day with my 9th graders, who I’d differentiated into learning groups that were named after big cats–it was fun thwarting them when they tried to figure out why I had done that!
If you choose to study abroad, definitely research it and talk to participants from previous years–invaluable. But above all, know that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you may never get again. I was so lucky that as a returning student I could go, since normally the doors slam shut on such opportunities once you graduate.