Introducing The Consortium of Overseas Student Teaching (COST) Program

Did you know that teacher candidates in some U.S. universities can do their student teaching overseas? What an opportunity, right!

We learned about this option by speaking with Dr. Danielle Carrier, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Southern Mississippi. Take a listen to that episode (link when it is posted). We also learned a little bit about the program from a participant perspective during our podcast Episode 8B and Episode 9B with Hannah Ormond, who did her student teaching in Greece as part of COST and is now looking to teach overseas full time! 

The Consortium of Overseas Student Teaching (COST) is a program based on a collaboration among 16 American colleges and universities. The program provides opportunities for teacher candidates in US universities and colleges to do their student teaching overseas. Grand Valley State University, located in Michigan, currently serves as the headquarters and coordinator for international placements. A primary goal besides providing student-teaching opportunities is “to promote global understanding, intercultural communication, and a meaningful educational experience.” 

The COST website reports: 

Through COST, teacher candidates are placed in public and private institutions in various locations around the world where English is the language of instruction. The placement period ranges from 6-15 weeks, depending on the requirements of the US-based sending institution. 

Dr. Carrier shared: 

The mission, or objective of the COST program, in line with teacher candidates’ university student teaching programs, is to provide an opportunity for the student teacher to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their home university teacher preparation program. 

The uniqueness of student teaching with COST is that teacher candidates experience student teaching in two placements: One at home in the U.S. and one abroad in a location they can request. So, in addition to achieving the objectives required for student teaching at teacher candidates’ home university, student teachers:

  • gain new perspectives on world events;

  • gain an appreciation of the host country through living in the community with volunteer hosts

  • teach in a bicultural or bilingual setting;

  • reflect on and expand their perspective as a U.S. citizen by experiencing life in a different sociocultural context; and

  • consider ways to bring an international perspective back to their classroom in the United States

Of course, the program naturally also opens the door for students to look for their next opportunity to teach overseas, as Hannah is now planning to do.

What a tremendous chance to expand one’s student teaching experience to encompass living and teaching in a foreign country! As both Dr. Carrier and Hannah reported, COST provides the perfect means for young teachers to get a feel for what it means to be an international educator. 

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