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Megan Bietz, Gillette, Wyo., Dr. Richard Carriveau, Abby Blaha from Rapid City, Jennifer Doak, Gillette, Wyo., and Kayla Morrison, Deadwood, make final arrangements to do their student teaching at international schools. The students, none of whom have ever been overseas, have chosen to do their student teaching in international schools in New Zealand and Australia.

Four Black Hills State University education students are embarking on a pilot program to do their student teaching experience overseas.

The BHSU College of Education students who will enhance their education with an international student teaching experience are: Kayla Morrison, Deadwood; Jennifer Doak, Gillette, Wyo.; and Abby Blaha, Rapid City, who will all be traveling to New Zealand; and Megan Bietz, Gillette, Wyo., who will be student teaching in Australia.

BHSU is collaborating with the Foundation for International Education to make arrangements for the international student teaching experience. Dr. Richard Carriveau serves as the campus director to place students in foreign schools.

None of the four students have ever been overseas and are really looking forward to this exceptional learning experience.  Carriveau sees the experience as an opportunity for the students to “broaden their thinking about the world and their place in it.”

“I hope they will gain a concept of the world outside the U.S. and understand there are different ways of approaching education, as well as different viable cultures throughout the world,” Carriveau  says. “They will bring back some different and exciting ideas and experiences that they will be able to share with students here.”

This is one of several international programs BHSU students have the opportunity to take part in as a part of their education. BHSU added the overseas arrangement with the Foundation for International Education to existing programs with the Department of Defense and a cooperative agreement between BHSU and two American schools in South America, one in Peru and one in Buenos Aries.

With this program, BHSU student teachers are placed in international schools, not American schools. This provides students with full cultural immersion as they live with families and teach in their international schools.

“Our students will complete 10 weeks of student teaching here and then leave in mid-March for their international placements. They will return home in time for graduation in May. The students are looking forward to the international experience,” Carriveau says.

“I’ve always heard how beautiful New Zealand is and how different the lifestyle is,” explains Blaha. “I’ve been here my whole life. I’m ready for this.”

Bietz says the student teaching is opening up an opportunity that she otherwise wouldn’t have.

“I’d never go to Australia without this opportunity,” says Bietz. “I’m curious to find out what the school system is like. We’ll be able to bring back some new strategies to the classroom from our experiences.”

The students agree that their experience at BHSU has been pivotal in their lives and has affirmed their decisions to become teachers. The students and faculty members have high expectations for this new venture, which they feel will be important to future teachers.