International Connections

Kathryn Holly

Major: Elementary Education

Year: Senior
Hometown, State: IA

Type of experience: Student Teaching
Experience: International student teaching experience in Taiwan
Experience website:
Destination: Taiwan

Overall experience..
Overall, I was glad to have the opportunity to travel around such an extraordinary country. I now have an expanded world view through meeting people, eating numerous dishes, and traversing throughout the island.

I learned...
I have always wanted to study abroad through hearing the positive impacts from peers that were semesters ahead of me. I learned about the different locations by attending the International Student Teaching Fair as well as visiting their website.

An impact to my life...
Traveling and teaching in Taiwan is an experience I will never forget. I achieved personal goals by getting out of my comfort zone to travel to Asia and try many different foods. My education was advanced because I saw how schools operated and I had the opportunity to teach English to kids who may have never spoken to a native English speaker. I was also able to teach ELLs which was a challenge, but I am glad that I did it because they gave me the tools I needed to succeed.

My most valuable learning experience...
One learning experience I had was when my cooperating teacher was not in the room when I was teaching fourth grade ELL students for the first time on my own. I had to be flexible, adaptive, apply what I knew, and use my resources to be able to teach the children without my teacher as a backup to explain things more in depth in Chinese if needed. I learned that I was prepared to teach ELLs on my own and I could meet all of their needs in a lesson, even with the language barrier.

I will never forget...
One highly memorable experience I had was in the last weekend of my experience, I was with a host family at their home and they taught me how to make dumplings by hand. I helped mix the filling, then put a small bit of the mix onto the dumpling skin. They were amazed at how quickly I picked up on twisting the edge of the dumpling together! The host mom then showed me three different ways to cook the dumpling. I am looking forward to taking what I learned and showing my family how to make real dumpling from scratch.

Advice for others...
My advice would be to say yes to as much as you can whilst there, because you never know what great things can happen when you get out of your comfort zone.

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