International Connections

Rachel Joens

Major: Elementary Education

Minor/option/emphasis: Endorsements: Reading and English Language Arts

Year: Senior
Hometown, State: Sioux City, IA

Type of experience: International Student Teaching
Experience: International Student Teaching - Germany
Experience website:
Destination: Germany

Overall experience..
My overall experience of student teaching in Germany was unforgettable. Traveling to Germany for this experience was my first time ever on a plane and it was well worth it! I student taught in a third-grade classroom at the international school in Stuttgart-Fellbach, Germany. During my student teaching placement, I was able to teach students of different learning abilities and diverse cultural backgrounds. It proved a challenging, but rewarding, task. I also had the opportunity to travel to other places around Germany along with traveling to France and Italy.

I learned...
I first learned about this international opportunity by attending the Study Abroad Fair in the spring of 2017.

An impact to my life...
This experience has impacted me as a person in the 21st century because I have been able to learn a great deal about myself and my teaching abilities. I have had the chance to travel to several other countries and learn about how other languages and cultures are different from my own. While traveling, I have gained knowledge of the world around me, and I have gained the ability to adapt to a new culture and environment. While student teaching abroad, I have been able to immerse myself in a society that has enabled me to better understand people of different cultural backgrounds. I now have a better understanding of people from different cultures, and I have implanted a genuine curiosity for people around the world. I feel employers will be very interested in my international experience, and I will be able to discuss and demonstrate to them the skills and abilities I have gained from living and teaching in a foreign country.

My most valuable learning experience...
The most valuable experience I have from my experience in Germany is just the fact that I was fortunate enough to be able to make a difference in the lives of young children from a variety of different cultures around the world. Most of the students in my third-grade class were learning English as a second language. Therefore, it was challenging at times, but I strived to always make my lessons meaningful and engage them in the learning process.

I will never forget...
It is very difficult to choose just one memorable moment when I have many. With that being said, one of the most memorable experiences I have from my experience in Germany was just exploring the country and its neighboring countries. I also enjoyed being able to try all of the local food and enjoyed all of the sightseeing I got to do to different monumental sites around Europe. The Christmas markets in Germany were also AMAZING to experience!

Advice for others...
My advice for anyone who is thinking about studying abroad is just go for it! I had to go out of my comfort zone when student teaching abroad but that is where I grew the most as a person and an educator. There is so much more the world has to offer, and I can guarantee that any study abroad experience will change your life forever in a positive way.

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