International Connections

Cassi Cahill

Major: Elementary Education

Minor/option/emphasis: English/ Language Arts; Reading

Year: Graduate
Hometown, State: Waukee, IA

Type of experience: International Student Teaching
Experience: International Student Teaching - Norway
Experience website:
Destination: Norway

Overall experience..
I spent 8 weeks in the Southern part of Norway, about 2 hours from Bergen. During my time in Norway, I taught English and other subjects to students from grades 2 to 7 in a school of about 120 students. I was able to learn about and experience Norwegian culture including food, traditions, holidays, education and more.

I learned...
I learned about this international opportunity because it is widely discussed an publicized within the school of education. We learn about it in different classes and from many of the professors who are involved with the opportunity.

An impact to my life...
This experience has impacted me by opening my eyes to how others live around the world. We have so many similarities, yet also many differences. It is important to also acknowledge that people around us every day will also have similarities and differences. By acknowledging this we can become more accepting and always learn more about the people around us.

My most valuable learning experience...
One of the most valuable experiences I had was when students started to feel more comfortable speaking with me in English. Since their first language was Norwegian many felt uncomfortable speaking to me during the first few weeks of my experience. Once they were comfortable and were able to open up more I was able to make connections with them.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experiences I have from my international travels were when we were invited into the homes of the teachers we were working with. We had authentic Norwegian dishes and engaged in many conversations to learn more about each other, our cultures, and many other topics.

A surprising discovery...
Something that surprised me was the way that education was approached. The biggest difference is that students do not receive grades until 8th grade. There is a much larger emphasis on making connections with students and teaching them how to be productive members of society and enjoy education and what it has to offer. I think this mentality can offer great things in the classrooms in the United States and is something I want to try to bring into my future classroom.

Advice for others...
I think anyone who has the opportunity to study abroad should do it. I think it is the best way to immerse yourself in a culture and understand people and where they come from. I learned so many things throughout my experience that I do not believe I would have learned from staying in the United States.

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