Remember how you felt before departing on your COST experience? Eager to share how COST and teaching abroad has had an impact on you (whether you returned home yesterday, last year, 5 years ago, 20 years ago...)
Complete the COST Program Evaluation Form and return to your US COST Coordinator.
Share with COST and all future participants! Send us your favorite photo(s). Did you create a video report or blog? Any tips or travel advice for future participants?
Send photos and all other correspondence to Anna, COST Program Coordinator.
*Please include your name, university, COST location, and year.
"Teaching abroad is a lifetime experience. It will open your eyes to new kinds of beauty that one could not imagine. It engulfs you in new cultures and broadens your outlook on life. I can truly say that my experience teaching abroad has helped turn me into a mature adult and develop life skills that I could have not been taught in any other way. I have caught a disease that makes me want to travel, explore, and learn about new cultures, people, and life. Most importantly, teaching abroad has taught me that children are children no matter where they are from and that they need a teacher who acts as a passionate, stern, and caring leader."
"After only two short months of additional student teaching in Cologne, Germany, I can advise other student teachers to open their minds to teaching abroad, if for no other reason, to open doors for a future career. Finding a job in the States is tough at the moment, and pursuing careers abroad without the support of a university can be daunting. Students can use COST as a trial run for a future international career, or find the things that work in other countries’ education systems to bring back to his/her own classroom in the States.
For those who have never traveled, this will be a life changing experience simply because living abroad is extremely rewarding. You will challenge yourself, you will change your world view, and you will learn more about yourself than you probably ever have. Traveling is education, and as teachers it is our responsibility to be internationally and culturally conscious. It is impossible to teach your students to be responsible citizens of the world without becoming one yourself."
"My advice, take the challenge: You will be better for it, so will your students, and so will our world."
I recommend you do three simple things before you leave and while you are away.
First, do as much research as possible about your area, and take care of every little thing back home (bank accounts, taxes, doctors' appointments, insurance, etc.) Do this so you do not spend most of your time away freaking out about possible problems at home… cause when you are a thousand miles away, frantically skyping your sibling to then get your parents to get the bank to unfreeze your account can be a worst nightmare (Too specific to have just come up with? Yes… it is.)
Secondly, try to speak the host-country's language as much as possible. Not only is this seen as an attempt by you to get into the culture and an offer of good faith, but it is also a great way to learn a language. No better way than from the people who speak it!
Thirdly, and lastly, learn to take every chance or opening to get involved while away. It can be very lonely sitting at your home at the computer doing homework or messaging friends and family constantly. Nobody learns culture in isolation. Remember this… you are always too busy to do something, but if you never make the time, you will always be too busy to do anything.
2013 COST participant, Reginald from University of Georgia sings "Go Down Moses" with his elementary choir in Germany.
"It is great to experience different aspects of teaching. I think this experience has given me a more diverse way of teaching the subject of music. There is so much music in and around Germany. It's almost overwhelming to think of talking about the famous classical music composer, Beethoven, in class in Cologne because he was born and lived only 30 minutes away from the school in Bonn, Germany."
2009 COST participant, McLain Schaefer, interviews with his visiting Host Family from Australia after 5 years!
"To be able to tell future students that I did my student teaching in Australia is priceless, and still today is really instrumental in my development as a teacher and my career."