I've always loved that IPDS programs allow students to explore the world and become exposed to different life styles other than their own. For me personally I have always favored the fact that I am able to go into different schools through this program. I am full of pride and accomplishment when I think about how fortunate I am that I have had these amazing opportunities to travel to different countries and learn about their schooling systems, classroom management, and beliefs.
One thing that I have noticed that is different for me about this experience is the amount of independence that I have gained and that I see daily in the children at the school and in the community.
When I go to school in the morning my host and I take a public bus and along the way we will pick up students that go to our school. These students walk to the bus stop , get on the bus, and get off at the school stop all on their own. I find myself always being a little worried knowing they have to do this all on their own because some of the children are only in first grade. During my student teaching placement I was in a first grade classroom and I can say that I am not sure that some of the students would be able to do all of that on their own. I think that in the United States we have a tendency to be helicopter parents and want to constantly know where our child is , what there doing, who their with, and if their okay. Sometimes it is to aggressive and I believe this causes our children to be less independent and more dependent on other people.
Growing up my dad always told me that no matter where I go to use the buddy system. He was never a helicopter parent but he just always wanted to know that I was never alone. I think that because I always had a buddy to go anywhere with me when I was younger, that as I got older it stuck with me and I always ask anyone around if they would like to go with me. But while being in Germany I have found that I too have become a lot more independent because almost everyday at some point I am traveling alone. At first the thought of taking public transportation by myself, especially in an unfamiliar place was terrifying. My first ride home by myself was lonely and slightly uncomfortable. But as I sat there I began to reflect (reflex of being an educator) and I thought to myself that I need to grow from this experience because sometimes I am not always going to have a buddy with me and that is okay.
I have been so proud of myself that independently I can navigate my way home and not feel anxious about being by myself. Before leaving for Germany I was talking with Tamara, one of the co-directors, and I told her that one thing I am nervous but excited for during this trip is becoming more independent. I have not only gained independence from traveling alone but also from not living with my cohort. This is my first experience studying abroad and not being under the same roof as my cohort which also was nerve racking at first because I would be staying with someone whom I had never met before. But once again I find myself reflecting and being so grateful for this experience because I could not have a more perfect host!