If you are adventurous, academically able, independent, and ambitious, student teaching overseas offers an opportunity to broaden your outlook on the world and expand future professional possibilities. Through this experience, you will gain greater sensitivity to other cultures, a more informed perspective on the United States’ role in the world, greater appreciation of your heritage, and increased self-confidence from having successfully dealt with new and challenging situations — qualities much needed among today’s teachers.

The University of Kentucky is an active member of the national Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST), an association that places teacher candidates in schools in foreign countries to fulfill student teaching requirements.

Application Guidelines

One of teaching’s simple truths is that good planning is essential to effective practice. This certainly applies to student teachers who participate in the COST program. There are many procedures that must be followed for student teachers who have overseas placements. To assist with planning, we have outlined procedures to follow to participate in COST. Please read and follow them carefully to ensure that you have a positive, productive learning experience.

Two semesters before your student teaching experience:

1. Apply for student teaching one year in advance of the intended student teaching semester. During priority registration:

Students should also submit a regular Student Teaching Application to the COST coordinator, 104 Taylor Education Building.

2. Enroll in EDC 454G: Culture, Education, and Teaching Abroad. This is a prerequisite course for program participation offered only in the Fall semester.

3. Obtain a passport from:

US Postal Service
1088 Nandino Blvd.
Lexington, KY

One semester before your student teaching experience:

4. Register for student teaching (12 credit hours for undergraduates; 9 credit hours for MAT/MIC students).

5. Complete state-mandated criminal records check, which includes an FBI 10-Fingerprint card.

6. Apply for a degree according to University deadlines through the Student Services Office (166 Taylor Education Building).

7. Apply for a teaching certificate through the Student Services Office. Note: All students seeking teacher certification in Kentucky must successfully complete the Praxis II exams; so, make sure you have taken all necessary exams before you go overseas. Information and registration forms are available in 166 TEB or at ets.org.

8. Make travel arrangements.

9. Provide the COST coordinator with information about your flight plans (airline, flight number and arrival time). Ask any questions you may have related to your placement or housing.

10. Provide COST coordinator and your family with the name, address, and phone number of your overseas hosts.

11. Register with the UK Career Center in the Stuckert Building at 408 Rose Street in order to receive job placement information.

12. All UK students participating in the COST Program must complete an application with the Education Abroad at UK office.  Application deadlines are March 1 and October 1.  Students may also apply for Education Abroad at UK Scholarships.  To qualify, you must be a full-time UK student participating in a credit-bearing program.  Possible awards of $750 – $1,500 are based on financial need and academic merit.  For further information, contact the Education Abroad Main Office in 310 Bradley Hall or call 859-257-4067 x 252.

13. Once you have received your placement apply for a visa, if required. Previously, only Australia, New Zealand and South Africa required a visa, but many countries have changed their security requirements. It is best to check with the consulate of the country in which you will be student teaching for information about requirements since most visa applications require exact information about where you will be living and working. Procedures vary from site to site. You won’t be able to do this until your placement is confirmed from COST headquarters. Since the process can be lengthy, you will need to act quickly and may want to pay extra fees to expedite service.

14. Obtain liability insurance for teaching by joining a professional organization.

15. Check with your physician or travel agent about necessary immunizations. Know your blood type.

16. Attend a required Pre-Departure Meeting with the COST Coordinator and Program Faculty to discuss program requirements.  A packet will be provided containing COST Final Evaluation Forms, the COST Participant Information Guide for your cooperating teacher and university supervisor, the COST reflections, certification documentation and other pertinent information for your semester.

17. Make three copies of pages two and three of your passport. Leave one copy with the COST Coordinator, leave one at home and carry the other one in a different place than the original.

18. Obtain traveler’s insurance, especially if you’re going standby or no frills.

While you are away, be sure to:

19. Send electronic journal entries reflecting about your student teaching and cultural experiences to Julie Cleary at julie.cleary@nulluky.edu. Guidelines will be included in your placement packet.

20. Send us an email once you have arrived safely. We would also like to have photos of you at work in your classroom to share with other prospective candidates. If you have a digital camera, we would appreciate these pictures on a CD. We will share these pictures with the COST Director, post the photos on our COST bulletin board, and include them on our COST web site. (Make sure you’re in some of those photos!)

21. Prepare a portfolio using guidelines provided in the placement packet.

22. Before the last day of the semester, send your final evaluation, student survey, and material from your placement to the student teaching office.

Important Note: It is your responsibility to have your completed evaluation form returned to 104 TEB before the end of the semester in order to have a grade recorded for student teaching. You cannot graduate until this grade has been recorded. You may want to fax the evaluation to UK at (859) 257-2734 to be sure it is received before the end of the semester. If you fax it, be sure to call or email the Office of Clinical Practices to confirm that it has arrived. Phone: (859) 257-7974 or email: julie.cleary@nulluky.edu. We will require the original evaluation form for your permanent file upon your return to the states.

23. Secure a letter of recommendation from the cooperating teacher(s) and other supervisor(s) who you work with at the overseas site.

When you return:

24. Contact our office to let us know that you have arrived home safely and make an appointment for a debriefing session.

25. Make arrangements with your program faculty to review your portfolio and evaluation.

26. Contact your host family to let them know you arrived home safely.

27. Attend a required Debriefing Meeting upon your return to share your experiences and review your portfolio and program evaluation with the COST coordinator and Program Faculty.


Application deadlines are approximately one year prior to the semester you plan to student teach. Submit all COST applications to 104 TEB at the same time you submit your regular student teaching application (during priority registration) which should be two semesters before you student teach.


Students must apply for student teaching one year in advance of the intended student teaching semester. All University of Kentucky standard eligibility requirements must be met in order to participate in the COST program. In addition, candidates must:

  1. Review the Overseas Student Teaching Application Instructions (PDF) and Overseas Student Teaching Site List (DOC)
  2. Submit an Overseas Student Teaching Application (DOC)
  3. Submit Overseas Student Teaching Site Request and Checklist (PDF)
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  6. Successfully complete the preparatory course EDC 454G: Culture, Education and Teaching Abroad.

Those accepted will have demonstrated above average ability, good character, flexibility, and strong motivation.


Tuition for student teaching overseas is the same as it would be for student teaching locally. Applications for scholarships, specifically allotted for the COST program are available through 166 TEB, as are applications for a number of other scholarships which could be applied. In addition to tuition, which is paid directly to UK, the following expenses should be considered:

  • $200 application fee with application will be refundable only if a placement cannot be made.
  • Airfare: exact cost will vary depending on destination, time of year, airline, and length of stay. It is recommended that the student check with a travel agency.
  • Budget at least $150 per week for room and board. This will, of course, vary depending on destination, type of arrangement made, and value of the dollar. Whenever possible, students will be placed with families. Dormitory accommodations are also used. Some sites have set add-on fees or additional fees for placements exceeding seven weeks.
  • Sufficient pocket money to cover weekend travel, unanticipated expenses (i.e., occasional hotel, etc.) meals, souvenirs, phone calls, airport departure tax (if required), etc.

Host Schools

In English-speaking countries, student teachers are placed in local schools affording excellent opportunities to become acquainted with the culture and educational system. The curriculum follows national models and students come from the local community.

In non-English speaking countries, students are placed in independent, international or American schools. These are non-profit, non-denominational, private schools established for the purpose of providing bilingual instruction preparatory for entrance into colleges or universities in the United States or other countries. Classes range from preschool through secondary school. The curriculum follows American or Western European models in various combinations with the curriculum of the host country.

Language Proficiency

Since English is the primary language of instruction in the host schools, student teachers do not need to speak the language of the country fluently. However, it is advantageous to have knowledge of the language, particularly for teaching at the preschool or early elementary levels where the children may be in the early stages of learning English. Returning students often comment on the opportunity afforded by this program to learn and practice foreign language skills.

Overseas Sites & CultureGrams

Placements are made in selected schools in various countries, such as: Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden. CultureGrams in PDF format are available for some sites by clicking on the country name.


Listed below are some of the useful electronic resources to help keep you in touch while you are away, but fight the urge to sit in front of your computer excessively while you are guests in another culture. Take advantage of your brief time there. Take in the local culture and become a part of it.

Resource Guide Toward Best Practice: Tips for Mentoring Kentucky’s Intern Teachers (PDF)
Education Professional Standards Board
Kentucky Teacher Standards
Shaping Effective Teaching (PDF) student teaching handbook


Supervision may be provided by the director or principal of the school, a senior teacher, an educator specifically employed for this purpose, and/or a professor from a COST member institution. Standard procedures for evaluation are followed.

For additional information contact Julie Cleary.