Description of the COST Program
COST - the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching, is a collaboration of 16 colleges and universities in the United States that provides opportunities for its students to have quality student teaching experiences in overseas settings. Since its inception in 1972, COST has arranged for more than 1,000 education majors overseas to fulfill their student teaching requirements in national schools in English-speaking countries or in American or international schools in non-English speaking countries. Initially placing students in a few schools in Latin America, COST has now expanded its outreach, able to place students in South America, Europe, Asia, Australia / New Zealand and Africa.
Students participating in COST typically live with host families where possible (for a fee), thus gaining a priceless opportunity to become immersed in the local culture of the country in which they are placed. Even when students live elsewhere, (e.g., local apartments, bed and breakfast accommodations, university housing), they are intimately connected to the local culture. All participants return to the United Sates having gained firsthand knowledge and experience with professional peers, students and their families within another culture setting, have an increased sense of confidence and improved self-efficacy, and a greater sense of how to integrate an international perspective into their profession as a teacher. The directors of the overseas schools, the cooperating teachers, and local families have accepted unique responsibility and are key factors which make this experience a success. We are sincerely grateful for their contributions and the important part they play to make this program a success.
Objectives of the COST Program
The major objective of the COST program, as with all student teaching programs, is to provide an opportunity for the student teacher to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have acquired at their home university. The uniqueness of the COST program is the setting in a foreign country and culture in which the student teaching takes place. Therefore, in addition to achieving the objectives required for student teaching by the student's home institution, additional objectives for the COST student teachers are to:
- gain non-U.S. perspectives on world events;
- gain appreciation of the differences in family life between the U.S. and the host country, all through participation in a host-family community setting;
- teach in a bicultural and/or bilingual setting;
- clarify one's position as a U.S. citizen by experiencing life in a different social and cultural milieu; and,
- consider ways to bring an international perspective back to their classroom in the United States.
- COST Participant Information Guide (PDF)
- How International Student Teachers Grow into World Class Educators (PDF) by Martha Lash and Justine DeFrancesco (in Global Learning: How International Student Teachers Grow into World Class Educators, Second Edition, Kenneth Cushner)
- How Student Travel Can Enhance Intercultural Competence by Kenneth Cushner (in Education Week's Global Learning blog, August 22, 2018)