Are you interested in an overseas student teaching experience? Please consider some of these important questions before applying.
Am I flexible and open-minded?
American schools abroad (as well as many host-national schools) serve young people from many nationalities. Even in some American schools abroad, American children may make up less than 10 percent of the student body. You will be confronted with diverse learning style preferences, languages, role distinctions, value orientations, and so forth. These will be found in the classroom, among the staff, in the community, as well as in our living situation.
Can I tolerate ambiguity?
In any cross-cultural situation, all the cues needed to interact and make decisions will not be readily apparent, yet you will have to make decisions and act on your own. Can you live and work comfortably when all the answers you think you need are not readily available?
Am I outgoing, or at least confident and comfortable in new situations?
In many cultures, expectations of teachers may differ, teacher's guides may not be provided (or available) for your use, or teaching materials may not be plentiful. The creative, confident, and flexible teacher will succeed.
How do I cope with the stress?
All people experience some form of culture shock, or the inability to satisfy one's needs, when abroad for any length of time. This creates stress in the individual which, if not reduced, can lead to problems. How will you manage this while overseas?
Have I ever had any international or intercultural experiences in my past which I can reflect upon?
Prior knowledge and experience can provide a good foundation from which to build upon. What experiences have you had which will help you as you live overseas?
Am I reflective? Am I willing to learn in this situation? Will I work to bring this experience back home?
While you may feel that because you are nearing the end of a significant amount of education, you are better skilled and prepared than ever before, you are primarily a learner in an international setting. You will, in many ways, struggle as you attempt to learn and teach in this new culture. Considering yourself as a learner, as opposed to the expert, will serve you well. Be open to others. LOOK – LISTEN - REFLECT - LEARN. It will also be necessary to explore how you can bring this experience home with you.