International Traveling Teachers

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

It is critical for all intercultural educators to continually work on expanding both their knowledge base and intercultural experiences. I've found one such program for k-12 teachers! We were lucky enough to speak with Dr. Judith Freund, of the University of Wisconsin River Fall's International Traveling Teacher Program. Here's what she had to say..


WE:  Please tell us about the International Traveling Teacher Program...

JF: The International Teacher Travel Program Provides opportunities for experienced educators from throughout the USA to learn about the educational systems in countries around the world through first-hand experiences in selected overseas schools.

The program works collaboratively with schools worldwide to identify appropriate placements in which educators have a short-term, 3-4 week, team-teaching and/or shadowing experience in school sites around the world, usually during the months of July or August. Their involvement in the schools is on a non-paid basis. Participating teachers register for 3 graduate credits through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The program is designed to serve the needs of educators at all levels and subject areas, including administrators, special needs, and counselors.

The majority of teachers participate during the summer, but teachers on a sabbatical or leave of absence also participate. While many participants pursue placements in English-speaking countries, the program works with individuals who are interested in pursuing sites in non-English-speaking countries. The program focuses on responding to the individual needs of participants. The over-riding objective is that the placements result in mutually beneficial experience for all parties.

We have good collaborations with schools in Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nepal, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Paraguay, Russia, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad, Turkey, Uganda, etc. Since the intent of the program is that educators immerse in the educational system and culture of the host country, participants are typically placed in local schools. That said, placement in International Schools does sometimes provide the best match for a specific need.


International Traveling Teacher Program


WE: What was the genesis of this program?

JF: The International Teacher Travel Program was implemented at the UWRF more than 15 years ago, as the International Visiting Teacher Program. The director of that program, Dr. Carol LeBreck, retired from the university and continued placement of teachers in overseas schools under the Global Educators Program. Dr. LeBreck is retiring and the program is now going back to the University of Wisconsin in River Falls as the International Teacher Travel Program and will continue to offer the personalized approach educators are familiar with. Dr. Judy Freund, the current director/instructor has collaborated with Dr. Carol LeBreck, for the past 6 years.


WE:  Who participates in the International Traveling Teacher Program?

JF: Participants over the past years have spanned all grade levels and have represented nearly all academic disciplines, specializations, and administrative roles. It meets the need of: · Teachers who are looking for ways to integrate a experience into their classroom work by connecting with overseas educators. · Teachers seeking ways to develop language fluency · Teachers interested in developing activities and projects as a result of school-to-school links, or participation in international collaborations · Teachers interested in providing in-service or staff development for over-seas colleagues · Teachers participating in teacher exchange programs (Fulbright Exchanges, DPI sponsored exchanges, etc.) · Teachers participating in student exchange programs · Teachers attending conferences or workshops related to international education topics.


International Traveling Teachers Program



WE: How can the ITT Program introduce intercultural learning for both teachers that participate, and their students?

JF: This is a positive, stimulating and rewarding experience for participants, and results in lasting friendships and relationships. Participants return with an expanded global perspective, committed to helping their students embrace new roles as global citizens, and with an enthusiasm for internationalizing the curriculum.


WE: How do the International Traveling Teachers help the schools in which they are placed?

JF: The EXACT nature of the participant’s involvement in the overseas school is determined by the interest of the participants AND is planned in cooperation with the overseas school. Typically participants assist with regular classes, participate in day-to-day responsibilities, speak with students in various classes, attend school functions, meetings, participate in school excursions, teach lesions or short units of instruction on a topic of interest, visit other classrooms or schools, etc.



WE: Thanks so much, Dr. Freund! This sounds like an incredible opportunity!


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