Global Gateway for Teachers

The structure of most teacher education programs makes it difficult for students to take part in a traditional study-abroad experience. Yet this kind of cultural immersion is vitally important for future teachers, whether it takes place overseas or in culturally different communities within the United States. International and intercultural field placements help candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and perspectives necessary to work successfully with youth from different cultures in their own classrooms. Such experiences also help candidates bring a broader worldview to their future classrooms, a view greatly needed in the world today.

The Global Gateway for Teachers is designed to give students those international and intercultural experiences while also fulfilling degree requirements for student teaching. Participants have the opportunity to serve as student teachers in culturally diverse settings that include Chicago, the U.S. Southwest, and twenty countries worldwide. In addition to full-time student teaching, all Global Gateway programs also feature required community engagement, service learning, and academic reporting. IUB’s award-winning "cultural immersion" programs are recognized as some of the most rigorous and innovative intercultural experiences available.

Students can choose among three different cultural immersion experiences:

  • Overseas Program, with student teaching placements in Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Tanzania, or Wales. 
  • Navajo Nation Program, with placements on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. 
  • Urban Program, with placements in Chicago Public Schools.

The Global Gateway also offers an Overseas Program for Experienced Teachers, for inservice educators seeking to connect with teachers and pupils through school- and community-based experiences in international contexts. The teachers typically go overseas in June, when their U.S. school is on summer vacation, and schools in many of the host nations are still in session.

Each Global Gateway program is a challenging experience for participants. Student teachers are required to spend at least eight weeks overseas, and a full semester on the Navajo Reservation or in Chicago. They must work long hours, adapt to unfamiliar cultures, and become actively involved in their placement communities. Participation requires a two-year commitment, beginning with a preparatory phase that includes monthly classes, readings, and a workshop, culminating in the student teaching “immersion” experience. Documented outcomes of participation include significant impact in terms of professional development and personal growth that can last far beyond the conclusion of the experience.

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