Cultural Immersion Projects
Spend a semester away from Bloomington and gain real-world teaching experience. The rigid structure of most teacher education programs makes it difficult for students to take part in a traditional study-abroad experience. Yet this kind of cultural immersion is vitally important for future teachers, because it helps them develop the flexibility and perspective to work successfully with students from different cultures in their own classrooms back home.
Our Cultural Immersion Projects are designed to give students those multicultural student experiences while also fulfilling their degree requirements for student teaching. Participants have the opportunity to serve as student teachers in culturally diverse settings that include Chicago, the American Southwest, and 17 countries around the world.
Our cultural immersion programs are recognized as some of the most rigorous and innovative study abroad experiences available. We have been honored by:
- The International Awards for Innovative Practices in Higher Education
- The Goldman Sachs Foundation Prizes for Excellence in International Education
- The AACTE's Best Practice Award for Global and International Teacher Education
Students can choose among three different cultural immersion experiences.
- The Overseas Project, with student placements in Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, or Wales
- American Indian Reservation Project, with placements on Navajo reservations in Arizona, New Mexico, or Utah
- Urban Project, with placements in the Chicago Public Schools
We also offer an Overseas Practicum for Experienced Teachers for educators who want to improve their skills working with students from diverse backgrounds.
Is a Cultural Immersion Experience Right for You?
Each cultural immersion project is a challenging and sometimes difficult experience for participants. Students are required to spend at least eight weeks away from Bloomington, work long hours, and must adapt quickly to unfamiliar cultures. Participation requires a two-year commitment, beginning with a preparatory phase that includes monthly classes, readings, and a workshop, culminating in the student teaching experience.
Students who are most likely to succeed in a cultural immersion program have these qualities:
- Emotional stability, good health, and willingness to adjust and adapt to unfamiliar and sometimes difficult circumstances
- Freedom from worries about family and friends or other social obligations
- Adequate financial resources to pay program fees, travel expenses, and living expenses away from Bloomington (some financial aid may be available)
- Strong professional and personal objectives for their experience