As an education major, you study how people learn and how to best teach visual, auditory, experiential, and other types of learners. However, teaching is best learned by practice and by exposure. When you study abroad, you'll definitely encounter different types of students, teachers, classroom settings, and teaching methods. Want to know how the Finns get such high test scores? Interested in why the Italian education system just seems to have issues? You'll get to see all of that when you go study education abroad in a brand spankin' new culture.
American classrooms are becoming incredibly diverse, serving students of different nationalities, home languages, and past experiences. Having studied abroad, you will be able to relate better to any students you might encounter and you will have experience interacting with people from cultures separate from your own. This will surely make you a more sympathetic and open teacher. So why not get out there and learn as much as you can?
In the UK, the top universities to study Education are University of Cambridge, King’s College London, University of Edinburgh, and Nottingham. National University of Singapore has a well respected education department. South Africa is home to the best institutions for education studies in Africa, including University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. If Australia is more appealing to you, check out University of Queensland and Victoria University.
Education systems can vary quite a bit from country to country, so you should choose your study abroad location with this in mind. There are many places in which education is highly underdeveloped, so if you are interested in education policy and developing schooling systems, these sorts of places might be most interesting and useful to you.
On the other hand, westernized, more developed countries often have a school system similar to the U.S. and can give you a fresh, but still recognizable, perspective on teaching and education. Although, some countries do not really offer early education; so if this is your specialty, make sure to research accordingly.
You should definitely research whether you can do volunteer or internship projects at local schools! This gives you a unique opportunity to step outside of the theoretic realm of education and actually experience the real-world classroom in any location you head off to.
No matter where you end up, you're sure to encounter new challenges and adventures. Overcoming the barriers of language and culture with your students-- and finding ways to reach and teach them despite the obstacles-- is a fantastic opportunity to grow as a teacher!
And while you're considering all your study abroad options, don't forget to keep in mind your interests outside of education. Sure, you want to be the best teacher EVAH, but study abroad is the perfect time to experiment with your untapped passions. Think about taking that painting class you couldn't fit into your schedule at home, or trying out a new sport to make friends abroad! A well rounded person makes a well rounded teacher, so take advantage of all the possibilities study abroad has to offer!
Home institutions often offer major-specific scholarships, so check with the Education department at your school!
- CIEE Global Acess Initiative (GAIN) offers a scholarship for many majors, including education.
- Niche (formerly College Prowler) has a list of many scholarships for education students, and for subdivisions of education (like elementary and special education).
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships