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Education majors gain experience abroad

news-thumb-keller-ireland.webpEducation majors at Morehead State are gaining hands-on skills while being exposed to a whole new world of experiences.

The opportunity allows education majors to complete teacher preparation in the field as student teachers in Brazil or Northern Ireland. The program is overseen by Dr. Gera Nelson, assistant professor of education, and Aaron Hirsch, coordinator of education abroad. Hirsch and Nelson reached out to schools in Vila Velha, Brazil, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. The schools then signed a memorandum with MSU to establish the partnership.

“Brazil offers an authentic bilingual experience to our MSU teacher candidates, while Ireland was an easy context for our student teachers to practice teaching in an English-speaking school,” said Nelson. “In both settings, students will be able to engage in global competency and comparative education.”

Nelson added that the Brazil trip offers a cross-cultural experience, while the Ireland trip lets students learn about differences in educational systems in English-speaking countries.

Sixteen students participated in this opportunity in the Spring 2023 semester and 11 are participating this semester. Student-teachers in the program are training to teach students from pre-K through 12th grade. A long-term student teaching experience is eight weeks or 16 weeks, while a short-term teaching experience is ten days. Nelson selected and trained students involved in the program, and Hirsch found scholarships to help cover the costs.

Keller Holloway, a senior education major from Centerville, Ohio, is currently student teaching at St. Colm’s High School in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"This experience has been amazing,” said Holloway, “I was hoping for it to open my eyes to a world I had never seen before, and it has done just that.”

Holloway recommends starting the process as soon as possible because it takes time and effort to prepare.

Hirsch and Nelson hope to expand the program to include Spain and additional Latin American countries.

Learn more about student teaching in Brazil or Northern Ireland by contacting Nelson at or 606-783-2767.

For more information about Education Abroad, contact Hirsch at or 606-783-2044.

Photo Caption: Left to right: Adrian Walsh, Principal of St. Colm’s High School, and Keller Holloway, Morehead State education major, pose for a photo in front of St. Colm’s High School in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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