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Seniors Gain Teaching Experience in Ireland Classrooms

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Seniors Hannah Bell, Halie Brandt, Nicki Classen and Shauna Owens spent part of the fall semester student teaching in Ireland.

Four Nebraska Wesleyan University education majors are wrapping up a two-month teaching experience that will leave them with a lifetime of memories.

Seniors Hannah Bell of Lincoln, Halie Brandt of Lincoln, Nicki Classen of Alvo and Shauna Owens of Omaha have spent part of the fall semester doing their student teaching in Ireland.

Student teaching abroad is not new for Nebraska Wesleyan students thanks to a partnership with Indiana University’s Global Gateway Program, said Tim Anderson, professor of education and student teaching coordinator at NWU. The program provides students the opportunity to experience new cultures while gaining real-world teaching experience.

“An experience like this helps students grow as a person,” said Anderson. “And the more you know yourself, the more you can offer as a teacher. You have to adapt and understand other cultures.”

Classen said a study abroad experience was not part of her original academic plans.

“I thought about the type of experience it would be but I never really knew enough information about it to really pursue it,” said Classen. “I thought it would be expensive and I just didn't know if it was something I could afford. Then I decided to look into it, weighed my options and went for it.”

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity I couldn’t let slip,” she continued.

Classen said teaching in Ireland was also appealing since English is the main language and it provided an opportunity to learn more about her family’s Irish roots.

Owens spent the early part of the fall semester student teaching in an Omaha Catholic school. The opportunity to gain international teaching experience and travel throughout Europe was one she couldn’t turn down.

“Student teaching will help me think on a more worldwide scale,” she said. “I hope to gain a better understanding of not only schools in other countries, but a deeper understanding of their history and people as well.”

Furthermore, their professor noted, is the benefit that teaching abroad adds to their resume.

“Besides the cultural enrichment, student teaching abroad definitely makes students more marketable,” said Anderson. “I’ve had students come back home on a Friday and have an interview the next Monday.”

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Story by Alessandro Schirano, Public Relations Intern