Welcome to the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching Website
If you are a student of a COST member institution we encourage you to review this site, learn about the program, and consider possible student teaching placement destinations. If your school is not a member of COST, you may still find valuable information in our library on international and intercultural adjustment, overseas travel, research, and other initiatives related to teaching abroad and the internationalization of education.
Established in 1973, COST is a collaboration of 16 colleges and universities in the United States that provides opportunities for its students to have quality student teaching experiences in overseas settings. Grand Valley State University currently serves as headquarters and coordinates international placements. We work closely with university and school representatives from the United States and around the world to promote global understanding, intercultural communication, and a meaningful educational experience.
Through COST, teacher candidates are placed in public and private institutions in various locations around the world where English is the language of instruction. The placement period ranges from 6-15 weeks depending on the requirements of the US sending institution. All participants return to the United States having gained firsthand knowledge and experience with professional peers, students, and their families within another cultural setting; having an increased sense of confidence and improved self-efficacy; and having a greater sense of how to integrate an international perspective into their profession as a teacher.
The major objective of the COST program, as with all student teaching programs, is to provide an opportunity for the student teacher to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have acquired at their home university. The uniqueness of the COST program is the setting in a foreign country and culture in which the student teaching takes place. Therefore, in addition to achieving the objectives required for student teaching by the student's home institution, additional objectives for COST student teachers are to:
- gain non-U.S. perspectives on world events;
- gain appreciation of the differences in family life between the U.S. and the host country, all through participation in a host-family community setting;
- teach in a bicultural and/or bilingual setting;
- clarify one's position as a U.S. citizen by experiencing life in a different social and cultural milieu; and,
- consider ways to bring an international perspective back to one's classroom in the United States.