Student teaching is one of the most valuable components of the coursework required for education majors. Jake Hermanson, a 2016 graduate of MSU Moorhead, completed part of his student teaching abroad in Vienna, Austria.
Teaching abroad is a life-changing opportunity. It gives students a chance to see the world, meet new people and experience different cultures.
“I think about teaching in Austria all the time. It’s one of the highlights of my life,” Jake said.
Jake went to Austria with two other students from MSUM. They didn’t know each other before they left but they bonded quickly during their time there.
While in Austria, he also met many teachers who had a passion for global education. Connecting with them is what inspired him to continue teaching internationally after his student teaching abroad ended.
Currently, he is a high school math teacher at an international boarding school in Taichung, Taiwan.
One of the main goals at this particular school is for the students to learn English. All of the teachers there are international and native English speakers. As a result, the students benefit greatly with more opportunities to practice their skills. To help his students communicate in English more effectively, Jake often incorporates English writing into his lessons.
Having teachers from abroad also inspires these students to try new things and introduces them to different cultures.
“I’ve had students in the past say that teachers like me inspire them and that a lifestyle like this – where they can travel the world – is something that they want for themselves someday,” Jake said.
Along with the students, the teachers that choose to go international benefit greatly as well. The opportunity to meet new people and build relationships significantly impacts their life and career trajectory.
“The relationships I have built here are like none other,” Jake said. “These are people I will keep in contact with for the rest of my life.”
Class sizes abroad are much smaller than they are in most places in America. That allows him to connect with his students better and teach them more effectively.
Saving money is another perk of teaching abroad. In Jake’s case, housing is covered entirely by his school, so he doesn’t have as many expenses as he would have teaching in America.
One of the highlights of Jake’s experiences abroad is the time he has spent as a varsity basketball coach and a middle school soccer coach. Through coaching, he has traveled to tournaments throughout Asia.
“Teaching abroad has changed my life completely; it opened my eyes to the rest of the world,” he said.
Jake has been away for three years now. After his time in Taiwan, he will head home to West Fargo to see where life takes him next.
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