The College of Education at the University of Illinois has a long history of giving students the opportunity to travel internationally. Our future teachers are able to study foreign cultures and education systems. Studying abroad can be both the adventure of a lifetime and a fantastic professional learning experience.
The short programs are scheduled during summer or winter or spring break to fit in the academic calendar of students. The College of Education at Illinois offers study abroad tours to countries such as:
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
Education in Australia
The goal of a recent study abroad trip to Australia was to learn about education systems in Australia, including urban and rural schooling and teacher preparation programs at Australian universities. The study tour gave Illinois students opportunity to observe public and private schooling methods and teacher education programs at universities. Students also attended international education conferences held in Australia.
During school visits, the Illinois students did research on aspects of Australian education, such as classroom design and promoting inclusiveness lessons. They used their smartphone cameras to document a number of findings. At the end of the trip, the future teachers presented research results to University of Illinois education professors Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis (college dean). The married couple gave a keynote presentation at a literacy conference in Canberra, Australia’s capital.
Study tour participant Colleen Ross found many differences but also some basic commonalities between American and Australian education. On her trip blog, Ross wrote: “Although there were prominent and interesting differences between the schools we’ve experienced in Australia and ones we know back home, being at the school today further helped me realize that kids are kids and school is school, no matter where in the world you are!”
The travelers also got to explore Australia’s geography and culture. Among the highlights, they bathed in rainforest waterfalls, held koalas at a wildlife sanctuary, snorkeled among sea-life (including a turtle) at the Great Barrier Reef, studied art at the National Art Gallery, and were taught by an aboriginal tribal elder how to throw a spear and start a fire.