The Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) hosts undergraduate majors in our elementary education program. We encourage all C&I majors to study abroad; as pre-service teachers, study abroad provides opportunities for global immersion, global awareness, global sensitivity, and global knowledge that complement and expand understandings that come from on-campus scholastic study alone. Further, we encourage you to seek out non-traditional destinations, and, to the extent possible, immersion experiences that enable access to culturally, linguistically and socioeconomically diverse communities. Our undergraduate programs have diversity- in all of its many forms- as a central concern and focus. For our pre-service teachers in particular, study abroad will enhance your ability to develop educational approaches, curricula and pedagogies that offer globally diverse learners the most effective educational experiences.
Please note that while this page will primarily address undergraduate C&I majors, we equally encourage undergraduates in our certificate programs and the pre-service teachers in our UW Teach – Secondary Education Master’s Program to take advantage of study abroad opportunities as well.
Information for Prospective Majors
Undergraduate certification programs in C&I are full-time, 2-year programs, typically done in your junior and senior years. Major requirements, and scope and sequence of the program, can be found here. In planning for a C&I major, you typically fulfill your general education requirements prior to joining the program. If you wish to study abroad, it is best to start planning early in your college career.
Because there is a full 2-year scope and sequence of courses, we encourage you to study abroad during your freshman or sophomore year prior to starting the teacher preparation program. The first two years of study is when you might do a semester abroad, or shorter-term faculty-led programs, or a domestic or international internship. However, it is possible to study abroad during your 2-year C&I program. Faculty-led short-term programs run in the summer and winter terms making participating more feasible. If you opt to pursue study abroad after the summer of your sophomore year, there may be more limited options.
Major Course Considerations Abroad
Embarking on a study abroad experience prior to submitting an application to the teacher certification program certainly adds value to your application (although it is not a guarantee of acceptance). If you wish to try and take general education requirements that may be pre-requisites for the teacher education program, please make sure that you are working closely with an SOE Advisor and the faculty program director to ensure that the courses you take abroad can count towards your pre-requisites. Once you begin, the teacher preparation program is comprised of four semesters that are fully populated with certification courses. These are necessary to meet state and institutional certification requirements. Your experiences and learning abroad will be invaluable to your skills and competencies as teachers, but rarely will take the place of courses required in the program.
Mapping your Study Abroad Experience as a C&I Major
The undergraduate teacher preparation programs begin in the Fall semester and encompass two full years of study. It will not be possible to study abroad during those four academic semesters (Fall/Spring 1 & 2). Therefore, we encourage you to study abroad prior to beginning the program. However, it is possible to study abroad during the summers and winter intersessions. There are several faculty-led summer and winter intersession options available through International Academic Programs, as well as domestic and international summer internships. These are best done during the first summer and winter intersession of your certification program, likely in your junior year. During the second year of the program you will be student teaching, and that extends beyond the term calendar, usually starting in early January and ending in mid-June. As a result, your options for your final year will be more limited.
The School of Education has recently launched the Teacher Pledge Program. This program pays the equivalent of in-state tuition and fees for students in the teacher preparation programs who pledge to teach in Wisconsin for 3- 4 years after graduation. If you are in the Teacher Pledge Program, the costs for study abroad while you are in the teacher education program are included in your financial coverage.
Questions to Ask
To Ask Your Academic Advisor in the Department of C&I
- What classes must I complete for my degree (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- How many electives am I able to take outside of my major?
- How does the timing of a study abroad or internship program I’m interested in align with my degree and certification program schedules?
To Ask Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What options do I have for study abroad and/or internships related to my interests and major focus?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- Are there volunteering or community-based learning opportunities that are related to education?
- What are opportunities in a particular study abroad program for me to get to know the local languages, communities and cultural practices?
- What are the costs associated with my study abroad program, how does financial aid work and what scholarships are available for students in the School of Education?
Identifying Programs that are Right for You
In general, there are two lengths of study abroad programs for you to consider. The first is a full-semester or year program, which must be taken prior to entering the teacher certification program. The second is a shorter-term program offered during the summer or winter intersession terms. While you can consider any program that interests you, we recommend programs with an explicit educational focus or component, one focused on working with children and/or youth in school and community settings, and/or one in which you are immersed in the lives and practices of culturally, linguistically and socioeconomically diverse communities. Below we identify programs we recommend in various geographic locations for you to consider, but this is not an exhaustive list! Please check with IAP for other options if you cannot find something here that fits your interests. You may also check with the International Internship Program (IIP) for internship options.
The following programs are short-term summer experiences in less-traditional destinations led by a faculty member. They each focus on a different theme but all provide opportunities to engage with socioculturally and socioeconomically diverse communities in a host culture.
Colombia: UW Conflict, Human Rights and Education in Colombia
Cuba: UW Exploring Cuba through Art
Ecuador: UW Education, Diversity and Community in the Galapagos Islands
Tanzania: UW Health, Education, & Tanzanian Culture
Thailand: UW Hmong Studies in Thailand
Uganda: UW Social Foundations of Learning in Uganda
The following programs are offered for the semester, year, and sometimes summer session and take place in less-traditional destinations where there will be engagement with linguistically and socioeconomically diverse communities. Some of these programs offer internship, directed study and volunteer opportunities that could be done in an educational setting or one specifically focused on children. These programs also may offer the opportunity to live with a local host family.
Argentina: CIEE Summer Community Public Health
China: CIEE Sustainable Development
Ghana: CIEE in Ghana
Jordan: SIT Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action
Nepal: SIT Development, Gender, and Social Change in the Himalaya
South Africa: SIT Community Health and Social Policy
The following programs are offered for a semester, year, and sometimes summer session. They allow you to enroll in courses at a host university in a more traditional destination alongside local students (or in some cases with a group of US students). While they do not provide the sort of immersion into diverse communities and cultures that the programs above do, they give you an opportunity to meet and learn from other university students of different backgrounds and cultures. These programs offer coursework related to Education that might interest you as a prospective teacher. Keep in mind, however, that the coursework offered cannot substitute for the courses you will take in your 2-year teacher certification program. These programs typically do not provide the opportunity for community internships or to live with a local host family.
Australia: Monash University Exchange
Denmark: DIS Copenhagen
England: University of Leeds Exchange
France: UW in Paris
Netherlands: University of Amsterdam Exchange
Japan: Waseda University Exchange
Scotland: University of Glasgow Exchange
Sweden: DIS Stockholm