Teaching Abroad

By Christina Burd

Students will travel to Taiwan or China from July 8 to Aug 8 to
teach children English through the English department’s teaching
abroad program.

The program, considered an unpaid working internship, is run by
Professor Karen Rusikoff, a graduate coordinator, and Dr. Liliane
Fucaloro, English and Foreign Languages Department chair.

Students can receive four units of English credit, and both
undergraduate and graduate students are able to participate in this

“I want to be a teacher; it seems like the perfect blend of
going to [Asia] and teaching at the same time,” said Audrey Hall, a
third-year liberal studies student. “It’s like travel and

Students go through training during spring quarter before they
go overseas to teach.

There are camps in different places in Taiwan and China and
there are six to 10 Cal Poly students to a camp.

“Dr. Fucaloro and I created this program and as long as we still
can go we’ll keep doing it,” said Rusikoff. “We never guarantee a
future year because who knows, we don’t get paid anything for doing
this, this is not part of our teaching this is in addition to. We
just get to see students blossom so much. That’s the best part of
teaching when you get to see people really blossom.”

Students teach in pairs in order to create confidence and
provide support for one another in the classroom.

Students teach oral proficiency through songs, stories, games,
total physical response or big games, arts and crafts, and idioms
to those students at higher education levels.

Student teachers spend five and half hours a day teaching, which
leaves them free time and weekends to explore, sightsee and
participate in the cultures they are immersed in.

“The China trips have positively impacted every aspect of my
life in some way,” said Liza Harwell, an alumna from Cal Poly.
“Obviously, my professional life had the greatest impact because
the China trips have helped me be more marketable, flexible,
understanding and imaginative teacher.”

The majority of students in China and Taiwan already have some
exposure to English because they begin learning the language
between first and third grade. The Cal Poly student teachers give
the students overseas the confidence of conversing with an English
speaker because they are not used to hearing or speaking it.

Lesson plans and other teaching materials are provided to
students, and they are required to meet with their teaching
partners to acquaint themselves with the material.

The students receive a great deal of guidance throughout the
teaching process and are adequate teachers before they leave for

Student teachers are also taught pedagogical, cultural and
linguistic backgrounds so they can get the most out of their
teaching experience.

In order to participate in the program, students must be 21
years old, a US citizen, have a passport and be a native English
speaker. The schools in Asia pay for airfare, housing (hotels or
faculty dorms) and food while students are teaching.

The Cal Poly teaching program has 13 camps set up in seven
cities in Taiwan and China.

The cities in China are Dongguan, Jin Hua, Shanghai, Tsingtao,
Jinan/Dongyin. In Taiwan there are camps in Taipei and I-Lan. For
the students in Asia, it is English summer camp.

The biggest difference between China and Taiwan is that Taiwan
is much more westernized and more expensive. “The Chinese always
cry when we leave,” said Rusikoff.

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