Katherine Northrop

Major: Elementary Education
Class: Senior
Program: International Student Teaching
Destination: New Zealand

Overall Experience

Student teaching in New Zealand was a once in a lifetime experience. I had the opportunity to teach in a year 2/3 classroom at The Terrace School. Monday/ Friday was spent at school, exploring Alexandra, and hanging out with my roommates. Weekends were spent traveling. New Zealand is such a beautiful country with so much to see.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience from my time in New Zealand was simply being able to teach at The Terrace School. This is a school with many amazing teachers as well as students. I learned so much about social emotional learning, lesson planning, problem solving and so much more. On top of all of this I also learned how to go into something new, with limited knowledge, and come out of it confident in my abilities.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience I have from my time in New Zealand is my last weekend trip I took to the Catlins. My two roommates and I became friends with one of the teachers at our school. She took us on two weekend trips during our time there. Being able to see New Zealand through the eyes of a local was a very special experience. I was able to learn and see things that I would never have been able to otherwise.

What did you not expect?

Something I did not expect is how nice and welcoming the people in New Zealand were. I went into the experience expecting a lot of people to have preconceived ideas about me, being an American. I expected these ideas to be negative. But I really couldn't have been more wrong. The people there were so excited to see young Americans exploring their country. Everyone we met was so helpful and lovely. I think that this taught me to go into new experiences with open minds. You truly never know what it will bring you.

What advice would you give?

Go in with an open mind. The experience is all about what you make it! Enjoy every day and remember how special it is that you get to have this experience.

How has this experience impacted your life?

My experience in New Zealand shaped how I view the world and the profession of teaching itself. Being able to experience culture in a country so far from my own was a beautiful experience. It opened my eyes to how big our world is. I learned the value of enjoying every single day as it comes. I learned how much beauty there is out there in the world. Being able to submerge myself into the New Zealand primary curriculum was an amazing opportunity. They truly value education. Each and every student is pushed to the top of their ability. This created a successful classroom culture where every student can succeed.

How did you learn about this experience?

I learned about this opportunity when I first declared my major. I believe my advisor told me about it when I mentioned I was interested in studying abroad.

International Connections