Kent State Students Teach Abroad with C.O.S.T.
Taking their teaching skills global, Kent State students Madison Juersivich and Odessa Rohrer have just returned from their spring C.O.S.T. programs.
The Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching, or C.O.S.T. program, is a collaboration of 16 colleges and universities in the United States that provides opportunities for students to have quality student teaching experiences in overseas settings. Through this program, education majors can complete some of their student teaching hours in an international classroom; Madison was able to travel and teach in the Netherlands and Odessa in Germany.
During their time abroad, Madison and Odessa both were able to stay with host families. Madison said this “was the best decision I could have made, even though I was hesitant at first.” Her classroom co-instructor turned out to be her host, and she said they developed a friendship that will last a lifetime. Odessa was hosted by a family of four and reflected on the family dinners she was able to be a part of. She will miss their homecooked meals of salmon and white asparagus with hollandaise sauce.
Madison was surprised by the importance and accessibility of a healthy lifestyle in the Netherlands; she biked to work every day, frequented fresh produce stands, and noticed how a healthy lifestyle impacted her students in the classroom. Odessa took advantage of her close location to other countries in Germany and was surprised by how easy it was to take a weekend trip to another country. Some of her favorite memories were from a trip to Switzerland with another C.O.S.T. student.
Odessa and Madison shared that the value of breaking out of their American classrooms allowed them to have a new global outlook on education. Odessa also shared that she had a lot of diversity in her classroom, families from other countries, and her students had a variety of first languages. Their experiences abroad have already sparked ideas for their own classrooms. Madison plans to create a research assignment for her students focused on comparing different education systems across the world. Odessa says she gained a lot more confidence in herself and sees how much value there is in being your authentic self in the classroom.
Odessa and Madison are excited to start teaching in their own classrooms this fall here in Ohio, but both have their eyes set on an international classroom again one day. When asked what advice they have for students who are interested in participating in C.O.S.T., they said the following:
"Getting stuck in your own frame of mind can be so dangerous, open your eyes to the way the world works, get more points of view, GO, GO, GO!” - Madison Juersivich
“Do not let the nerves and the process scare you. It can be overwhelming, but it is worth it.” - Odessa Rohrer