As culture changes, so do philosophies of teaching and learning. Studying abroad as an education major will not only sharpen your global thinking, but expose you to teaching practices you might not otherwise encounter. Once you have your teaching license, you might use pedagogical tools learned abroad in your own classroom, and in this way cultivate further global awareness.
While there is no single career trend for education majors, students find jobs working as public school teachers, school administrators, speech pathologists, special education instructors, paraeducators, and more. Experience abroad will distinguish you as someone who can prepare students to relate to cultural difference, and this will give you a competitive edge when applying for teaching and other education-related positions.
As an education major, various study abroad opportunities are available to you. From eight-week summer and winter programs to programs that span the academic year, there are plenty of opportunities for you to earn credit toward your degree.
Education majors are especially encouraged to apply for the Indiana University Global Gateway for Teachers Program, an 8-week student teaching program through which you can complete half of your student teaching abroad. (Limitations apply for English, foreign language, and special education teachers. For details, see the Special Considerations section of this site.) Information about the Global Gateway program and other study abroad programs recommended for education majors can be found here.
As you plan your study abroad experience, be sure to consult with advisors in the College of Education and in the Office for Study Abroad to discuss which overseas courses will transfer for credit upon your return. Preliminary information about how to coordinate study abroad with your academic requirements can be found here.
Various scholarships are available for students wishing to study abroad, including the Presidential Scholarship for Study Abroad. Information about these scholarships is available here. Note that short-term scholarships and grants are available for students interested in studying abroad over winter break, during the summer, and through other short-term programs like the Global Gateway student teaching program. Students who qualify for the Global Gateway program are awarded a $1,000 travel stipend and a $2,000 scholarship.
Education majors are encouraged to study abroad during student teaching and/or before they are accepted into the College of Education. (Typically, education majors apply to the College of Education as sophomores and begin their major coursework as juniors.) Education majors who have already begun their major coursework should consider studying abroad during winter break or through a summer program. Note: Foreign language majors are encouraged to complete their language requirements abroad at any time. For more information about when to study abroad, contact an advisor in the College of Education.
Your freshman year is best spent fulfilling general education requirements and deciding whether the education major is right for you. The summer after your freshman year is a good time to study abroad, though, especially if you want to get a head-start on fulfilling your world languages requirement.
Sophomore year is a good time to study abroad. Just be sure you're ready to apply to the College of Education by the application deadline (March 1st of your sophomore year for admission the following fall). Information about admission into the Teacher Education Program is available here.
Juniors & Seniors
Your junior and senior years will most likely be spent fulfilling major requirements that cannot be taken abroad. Students interested in studying abroad as juniors or seniors should consider summer and winter programs and/or student teaching abroad. Again, foreign language majors are encouraged to fulfill their language requirements abroad at any time.
Summer & Winter
If you can’t seem to find time for study abroad during the academic year, consider a summer program or a winter program like the India Winterim!
Before you enroll in courses abroad, be sure to consult with advisors in the College of Education, your subject area advisor (if you have one), and an advisor in the Office for Study Abroad to discuss whether any of your course requirements can be fulfilled overseas. You’ll also need to fill out a Study Abroad Credit Approval Form (available in the Study Abroad Office) and return it to your Study Abroad Advisor prior to your departure.
All education majors have to earn 30 credits before they can begin their major coursework. In addition, education majors in the following program areas must take prerequisite courses:
- Art Education (K-8 and 5-12): 12 semester hours of Art and Art History Courses completed with a minimum gpa of 3.00.
- Mathematics Education (5-12): Successful completion of Calculus I and II with a gpa of 2.5.
- Music Education (K-8 and 5-12): Successful completion of Music Theory I and II, and a minimum gpa of 3.00 on Music course work.
- English Education (5-12): Completion of 008:005 Introduction to the English Major: Theory and Practice, plus an additional 12 semester hours of English courses, with a minimum gpa of 3.00.
- Foreign Language (5-12): Completion of 12 semester hours of course work in language of program.
As you plan your study abroad experience, keep in mind that your prerequisites must be completed before you apply to the College of Education, typically at the end of your sophomore year. (Comprehensive information about admission into the Teacher Education Program is available here.)
You might be able to fulfill some of your prerequisites abroad. Just be sure to check with a faculty advisor in the appropriate department (e.g. the Art Department, if you would like to fulfill part of your art history prerequisite abroad) before enrolling in courses overseas.
With the exception of student teaching, all of your education courses must be taken at the U of I. Be sure to keep this in mind as you plan your study abroad experience, as the College of Education will not award credit for education courses taken abroad.
For more information about coordinating your study abroad experience with your major requirements, contact Sarah Showalter (elementary education majors) or Kathy Mossman (secondary education majors) in the College of Education.
Subject Area Courses
Secondary education majors are required to take a series of courses in their subject area, some of which can be taken abroad. If you are a secondary education major, consult with a faculty advisor in the appropriate department (e.g. the Department of English if you study English education) to discuss which of your subject courses will transfer if taken abroad.
Check out the Major Advising Page corresponding with your subject for more information about how to coordinate your subject requirements with study abroad.
General Education Requirements
Education majors are encouraged to consider completing the second half of their student teaching semester abroad through the Indiana University Global Gateway for Teachers Program. (Click here for details.) However, restrictions apply for English education, foreign language education, and special education majors.
Note: The Global Gateway student teaching program is just one of many study abroad options available to you. See Recommended Programs for additional opportunities.
Because English teachers are required to complete all of their student teaching in the United States, participation in the Global Gateway program will not count toward your 16-week student teaching requirement. However, you are encouraged to complete an additional 8 weeks of student teaching through the Global Gateway program, for which you can earn 2 hours of graduate credit.
For more information about student teaching abroad as an English education major, contact Nancy Langguth in the College of Education.
Foreign Language Teachers
Student teaching abroad is only an option for foreign language education students who travel to countries where the language they will teach is taught as a foreign language (e.g. Spanish in Ireland). For more information about student teaching abroad as a foreign language education major, contact Nancy Langguth in the College of Education.
If you want to travel to a country that speaks the language you teach, you might consider fulfilling some of your language course requirements abroad. Check out the Major Advising Page corresponding with your language for information about additional study abroad opportunities. Be sure to consult with a faculty advisor in your language department to discuss which language courses can be taken overseas.
Special Education Teachers
Because you are already required to divide your student teaching between a general and special education classroom in the U.S., the Global Gateway program is not available for special education majors unless it is completed as an additional 8-week experience (for which you can earn 2 hours of graduate credit). For information about additional study abroad opportunities, see Recommended Programs.
You might also consider fulfilling some of your general education requirements abroad. Just check with Academic Advising and/or a Study Abroad Advisor to discuss which courses will transfer upon your return.
Because your academic schedule is tight, short-term study abroad programs are highly recommended for education majors. If you can’t find time to study abroad during the academic year, consider one of the summer or winter programs listed here. Student teaching abroad is also a valuable experience, and is recommended for education majors approved to complete an international placement.
As you research study abroad programs, be sure to check out their course listings. All of the programs listed below offer courses relevant to education majors. However, not all of them are guaranteed to transfer for UI credit. Before you enroll in courses abroad, consult with your advisors to confirm which courses will transfer upon your return. For more information about who your advisors are and how to coordinate study abroad with your academic requirements, click here.
While we suggest you look at these recommended programs first, feel free to browse the programs section of our website, explore another online directory of study abroad programs, and/or consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room.
Secondary education majors should also check out the Major Advising Page corresponding with their subject area.
University of Iowa students have the opportunity to study for a semester or academic year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in either Durban or Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Students enroll in regular courses offered at UKZN and are fully integrated academically and socially with their South African peers.
Courses in a wide variety of disciplines are open to participants on this program. Courses are organized into twelve broad faculties (colleges), including Commerce & Management, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences and Science. The Faculty of Human Sciences, located on the Howard College Campus, is roughly equivalent to the UI’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (minus the sciences), offering undergraduate degrees in Drama & Performance Studies, Media & Communication, Music (jazz, classical, and African), Political Science, Development Studies, History, Geography, Psychology, Anthropology, Classics, Latin, isiZulu, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies, etc.
Academic credit earned at UKZN transfers to the University of Iowa. Study abroad students must enroll for a full-time load of courses while studying at UKZN. A full-time load is typically 3 or 4 courses and is generally equivalent to 12 or 16 s.h. of credit at Iowa.
While planning to study abroad, students should browse through UKZN's course listings to see which classes are likely to be available during their term in South Africa. Some courses may have pre-requisites, please discuss this with your study abroad advisor if you have questions.
Click here to browse course listings.
The Iowa Regents Semester in Australia program in Newcastle offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at the University of Newcastle. Participants are fully integrated academically and socially with their Australian peers. It would be a great program for freshman and sophomore education majors looking to fulfill prerequisite and/or subject area requirements.
Download a current information sheet from the University of Newcastle here.
Academic credit earned at the University of Newcastle transfers to the University of Iowa. Study abroad students must enroll for a full-time load of courses while studying at Newcastle. A full-time load is typically 3 or 4 courses and is generally equivalent to 12 or 16 s.h. of credit at Iowa.
While planning to study abroad, students should browse through Newcastle's course listings to see which classes are likely to be available during their term in Australia. Some courses may have pre-requisites, please discuss this with your study abroad advisor if you have questions.
The Iowa Regents Semester in Australia program in Tasmania offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at the University of Tasmania. Participants are fully integrated academically and socially with their Australian peers. It would be a great program for freshman and sophomore education majors looking to fulfill prerequisite and/or subject area requirements.
The program at Tasmania begins with a week-long orientation program that prepares students for the academic and cultural experience ahead. Students then enroll in regular courses offered by the university.
Academic credit earned at the University of Tasmania transfers to the University of Iowa. Study abroad students must enroll for a full-time load of courses while studying at Tasmania. A full-time load is typically 3 or 4 courses and is generally equivalent to 12 or 16 s.h. of credit at Iowa.
While planning to study abroad, students should browse through UTAS's course listings to see which classes are likely to be available during their term in Australia. Some courses may have pre-requisites, please discuss this with your study abroad advisor if you have questions.
The India Winterim is an intensive, three-week field-based program that provides students with the opportunity to learn from and directly interact with leading social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and academic institutions within India’s diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and geographical mosaic. Each course is based in (or near) one of several cities throughout India. This program is designed for undergraduate students, graduate students and community members with related interests and experience.
Click here to read a recent article about the program in SPAN Magazine, an e-zine published by the US Embassy in New Delhi.
View Brittany Kaplan's video about her experiences on the program.
The India Winterim program allows students to explore their interests in art and architecture, biodiversity and sustainability, education, entrepreneurship, housing, journalism, performing arts, physical therapy, renewable energy, social justice and law, social work, water resources or other development issues in India. Specific courses vary each year. In 2011-12, 142 students participated in 9 different courses. Each section is led by UI faculty and has its own disciplinary perspective. Students work with Indian NGOs employing a diverse variety of techniques to address social issues.
This 8-week student teaching program provides future teachers with the opportunity to experience teaching and learning practices in a foreign country. Science teachers might explore science education in China. History teachers might explore how World War II is taught in Germany, or how the American Revolution is taught in England. With a few exceptions, student teaching abroad through the Global Gateway program is a great opportunity for teachers of all age groups and subjects.
Program participants begin their international placements after they have completed the first 8 weeks of their student teaching in the United States. Placements are available in Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England and Wales, India, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, and more. Students have the opportunity to identify the country where they would like to teach and are placed based on their interests in addition to their area of study and academic achievements. (For instance, if you indicate that you are interested in trout fishing, host nation consultants with the Global Gateway program will try to place you in a region of the country you’ve identified where you can pursue that interest.)
While program participants have the option to stay in a bed & breakfast, hostel, or hotel, most choose to live in a homestay (in the home of a staff member, parent, or other person associated with the participant’s overseas school). The cost of a homestay varies from placement to placement but usually covers a bedroom and meals.
All host nations provide consultants for participants of the Global Gateway program. The consultants are experienced educators who facilitate the placements and can help with logistical concerns.
Program participants are encouraged to network with teachers and students in their host countries. While multiple UI students cannot be placed in the same school, they can sometimes be placed in the same area. (Program participants are encouraged to travel while abroad, and it is nice to have a travel buddy.)
Students interested in the program should apply a year in advance. Successful applicants demonstrate BOTH high academic achievement and an ability to work and think independently. For details about eligibility, including GPA requirements, contact Ellie Herman (elementary education majors) or Nancy Langguth (secondary education majors).
Expenses for the program include a $200 placement fee, tuition (about the same as for students not participating in the program), transportation to and from the country of placement, and living expenses (housing, food, transportation, and spending money). All UI participants are automatically awarded a $1,000 travel stipend and a $2,000 scholarship.
Check out the student field experiences website for more information about student teaching abroad. Information is provided in the orientation classes students complete during their first semester in the Teacher Education Program. Once admitted to the teacher education program, contact Nancy Langguth in the College of Education for questions about the Global Gateway program.
This semester or academic year program is designed to help students achieve greater competency in written and spoken Spanish while allowing them to develop specific expertise in international education and second language acquisition. These goals are achieved through the academic program, the teaching development course, the homestay, excursions and cultural activities, conversation exchanges, and volunteer opportunities. Participants choose from courses at the CIEE Study Center, the University of Seville, and at Pablo de Olavide University. This program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of a consortium of which the University of Iowa is a member. UI participants on the program join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities.
The program is designed for students who are considering a career in education, specifically in teaching foreign languages. Students take courses with a focus on education and teaching. Students may also register for some CIEE courses offered through the Liberal Arts program.