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UMaine Student-Teachers Now Have Down Under Option

Contact: Pam Kimball, (207) 581-2456

ORONO — University of Maine education students now have a new student-teaching option — in Australia and New Zealand classrooms.

The College of Education and Human Development recently formalized a partnership with AustraLearn, an Australian nonprofit that places students in schools in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. The program helps arrange 10-week student teaching placements for elementary and secondary education students.

One UMaine student did part of her student-teaching in Australia last spring, before the program became formal, and another is scheduled to teach in New Zealand in the coming spring semester, according to Pam Kimball, field experience and certification program director at UMaine, and Study Abroad Adviser Orlina Boteva in the Office of International Programs.

“We are delighted to offer this formalized experience for student teachers at the University of Maine,” says Karen Boucias, director of the Office of International Programs. “AustraLearn has a proven track record of programs.”

Boteva says the advising, application and pre-departure process is streamlined and efficient.

“Students are given a budget from the very beginning and they can work with the Office of Financial Aid on applying their UMaine financial aid package to this program,” she says.

Kimball adds that the international aspects of the teaching experience for UMaine students will make them more attractive employment candidates.

“As a former principal who has reviewed many teacher candidate resumes, I valued highly the diverse teaching experiences of the applicants,” she says. “An experience such as student teaching abroad is a ‘value-added’ factor. School populations today vary greatly in all aspects — culturally, socio-economically and developmentally.”

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