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Costa Rica Group

e-dition - April 13, 2007

Nine University of Winnipeg students from the Faculty of Education are completing their teaching practicum in Costa Rica. Pictured (left to right): Lisa Wicklund, Alexia James, Trevor MacVicar, Heather Thompson, Katarina Hegel, David Havixbeck, Monique Burke, Jenny Hall and Chelsea Dodds.

Global Opportunities:
UWinnipeg Education Students See the World

By Ilana Simon

More than 30 University of Winnipeg Education students have been given an extraordinary opportunity to complete their teaching practicum on the global stage. Education students are currently in Greece and Costa Rica for five to six weeks of student teaching. Another 22 Education students, including one student from UWinnipeg's WEC Access Program, are preparing to depart April 27 for an 11-month "once-in-a-lifetime experience" in Bangkok.

Good Head Start
"I am looking forward to experiencing the culture of Thailand and living abroad for a whole year," said fourth-year Education student Kaitlin van Leeuwen, 21.

Fourth-year Education student Lauren Alex, 22, expects she and her classmates may be in for some "culture shock" in Bangkok, but she also anticipates an incredible learning opportunity. "It will be great to discover the Thai food and culture and I hope to gain more knowledge for teaching early and middle-years students and to grow as a professional," she said. "It's a good head start."

This is the first time The University of Winnipeg's Faculty of Education has partnered with a foreign school for a 10-month teaching practicum. In addition to the students completing their final year of student teaching in Bangkok, they will also be taking courses from UWinnipeg faculty members who will be traveling to Thailand during their stay. UWinnipeg faculty members have also agreed to offer Professional Development workshops for the Thai teachers at the partner Lertlah School in Bangkok, which is affiliated with Manitoba Education and follows an adapted Manitoba Education curriculum.

Expand Global Knowledge
"We wanted to get involved with this program to give our students an opportunity to expand their global knowledge and experience diversity and a somewhat different education system," said Education Instructor Lenna Glade, Director of the University's International Teachers' Program in Thailand. "Certainly, they will lean a lot about the Thai system and culture and this will allow them to adapt to the growing multiculturalism that we find in the classrooms at home in Manitoba."

Deb Wolyshyn, UWinnipeg's Director of Student Teaching, agreed that the international opportunities afforded our students to understand education in different parts of the world and different cultures is important.

Cultural Diversity
"They will face challenges such as the differences in methodology from how we teach in Manitoba and what children are used to in Bangkok," she said. "The students will also get the experience of what it likes to be a minority and learn about diversification in cultures, which is extremely valuable in our multi-cultural society."

The Education Students in Thailand will also have an opportunity to travel short distances on weekends and also during a two-week school break in October.

"I like traveling and am really looking forward to seeing more of Thailand and the area around Bangkok," said fifth-year Education student John Holmes, 23. "It will be quite an experience teaching in Thailand-more than you would get here."

Alex, who has mainly traveled up until now in Canada, admitted to being a bit nervous about being away from her family for so long.

Fortunately, Woloshyn noted, the group will be housed on just two different campuses of the Lertlah School so they will be there for each other.

Ultimate Highlight...Teaching
"It's nice for the students to be able to go with a cohort and have a community," she said. "We encourage them to work together and support each other as they would if they were student teaching side-by-side in a school in Winnipeg."

Glade added that while traveling to a far-away country like Thailand is extraordinary for these young students, "I think the ultimate highlight for them will be the teaching itself…their ability to help the children they are working with to learn English and to learn something about Canada."

To follow the Education Students in Costa Rica blog, please visit http://blog.uwinnipeg.ca and select Costa Rica Practicum 2007.

UWinnipeg Education Students in Costa Rica

UWinnipeg Faculty of Education students teaching in the outdoor classroom in the Colegio Ambientalista in Costa Rica are Alexia James (left) and Lisa Wicklund (at the board).

< Back to e-dition April 13, 2007 - Volume 24 Number 16