Overseas Teaching Internships Take Education Students to Sweden, Peru

International opportunities to broaden future teachers’ experience

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
U of A students going overseas for teaching internships are Alaina Rainey, from left, Susan Moreno, William Myers, Isela Mercado-Ulloa and Erin Moody.

U of A students going overseas for teaching internships are Alaina Rainey, from left, Susan Moreno, William Myers, Isela Mercado-Ulloa and Erin Moody.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas will send teacher-education students overseas for teaching internships this spring.

At the end of March, William Myers of Little Rock, secondary English education, Erin Moody of Fayetteville, secondary social studies education, and Isela Mercado-Ulloa of Springdale, foreign language education (Spanish), will go to Jönköping, Sweden, to teach at two schools – Bäckadalsgymnasiet and Erik Dahlbergsgymnasiet – until the end of the spring semester.

Susan Moreno of Bentonville, foreign language education (Spanish), and Alaina Rainey of Fayetteville, secondary English education, will go to Peru for their final teaching rotation before graduating in May. They will teach in Lima at the Peruvian North American Abraham Lincoln School, through arrangements the U of A made directly with the school.

Leah Chamberlain, director of the office of field placement and licensure in the College of Education and Health Professions, worked with Jönköping University to make the arrangements with the two Swedish schools.. The college has a previous relationship with Jönköping University as part of its Health Teams Abroad program.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our teacher candidates to get experience working in other types of school systems and to work with students from other cultures,” Chamberlain said. “We hope to create long-standing relationships with several countries so we can offer a variety of options for our students.”

Myers has lived in Arkansas his entire life. He has accepted a job teaching overseas and believes his internship in Sweden will provide him valuable experience working with students who are not American.

“I believe that experience is the best teacher so I can’t consider myself cultured without going out and experiencing other people firsthand,” Myers said. “Also, it will expose me to new types of teaching and curriculum that are used around the world. Plus, who doesn’t want the opportunity to go on a new adventure?”

Moody said the experience will do more than improve her resume.

“I believe this experience will improve my teaching because education in Sweden is very different than in America, and it will broaden my ideas on how to best reach students and what an effective education looks like,” she said.

Students will have to pay for their flights, housing and meals, although in some cases, such as for the students this semester in Peru, they will live with families of their students, reducing their costs. Students may also be able to use some of their scholarships or financial aid to finance the trips, Chamberlain said.

The College of Education and Health Professions began offering out-of-area field placements two years ago. Two students completed teaching internships in the central Arkansas town of Maumelle during the 2011-12 school year. Last year, Elise Shoemaker taught in a Cherokee Nation boarding school in Oklahoma during one of her teaching internship placements, and Reggie Ballard taught social studies at Parkview High School in Little Rock. The college also expects to place students in Dallas schools for teaching internships.

Chamberlain said the initiative to add internship placements at school districts outside the four-county region of Northwest Arkansas is intended to broaden students’ experience. It will help prepare them for whatever area they eventually work in, she said.

“One idea was for them to get more urban experience since they don’t really get that here,” she said.

Northwest Arkansas has some of the largest school districts in the state population-wise, but they are not considered urban because of the demographic area from which they draw students.

The college placed 296 interns in 63 schools in 12 school districts in Washington and Benton counties this year. These are students enrolled in the childhood education and secondary education Master of Arts in Teaching programs and students in the college’s four-year bachelor’s degree programs in elementary education, physical education and career and technical education.


Leah Chamberlain, director, Office of Field Placement and Licensure
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-4932, leahc@uark.edu

Heidi Stambuck, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, stambuck@uark.edu

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