Baylor programs abroad offer new perspectives

Opportunities to teach, intern provide work related experience

By Jennifer Kang

Through Baylor’s several teaching and interning abroad programs, such as the Teach in London, Teach in Costa Rica, and Teach in Australia programs, students have the opportunity to travel beyond the comforts of home and learn more about other cultures and education systems.

These programs are supervised by Baylor faculty and give Baylor students an opportunity to teach and travel in another country.

According to Betty Ruth Baker, director of the Teach in Australia program and professor of curriculum and instruction in the School of Education, students gain a different experience abroad than they do in the U.S. because of the contrasts in education systems.

“Students learn through comparison and see another dimension to teaching,” Baker said. “The students in the Teach in Australia program found that children in Australia are taught to learn by themselves at an early age.”

Sarah Beth Haigler, a May 2011 Baylor graduate and current graduate student in curriculum and instruction in math, participated in the Teach in Australia program last year.

Haigler said she had to adjust to cultural differences, such as how cell phone use in public is rude.

The program also showed her how education values are different, such as the way students in Australia value learning.

“You see that a lot of students take what they learn at school and take it home,” Haigler said. “Students put their own ideas into what they learn, so they actually care about what they are learning.”

Although teaching abroad does give a unique work experience, some may find that internships are a better fit.

There are different types of internships abroad, such as the Baylor in London Foundation for International Education program, where students are able to take courses at a university and do an internship at the same time.

Austin senior Bonnie Berger said that the Baylor in London FIE program showed her a combination of education and working life in London, because she was able to take courses and intern at the same time.

“The internship gives me a competitive advantage in the workforce because I was able to work internationally and understand how to adapt to new situations,” Berger said.

Berger, a journalism major, interned for the Church of England Newspaper and was able to gain knowledge and participate in a work environment that is different than America’s.

“It was different seeing employees work only from nine to five and not doing overtime, like many do in America,” Berger said. “But, this different work environment also showed me how to work within a time limit.”

By finding a program that matches their needs, students may find a learning experience that can be a valuable asset in the work force.

Students must interview with the program director during their intern year to teach abroad; the teaching program is limited to students in the School of Education, while intern abroad programs are open to students in various departments.