24 January 2013
A dozen university students from New York State can’t wait to celebrate Australia Day on the Sunshine Coast this weekend, rain or shine.
The students, aged 21-28, are on a nine-week University of the Sunshine Coast study tour that contributes to the fourth and final year of their education degrees at the Fredonia campus of SUNY (State University of New York).
USC Education Lecturer Ken Young said the tour, which started on 5 January, involved the students attending lectures at USC’s Sippy Downs campus for four weeks then teaching under supervision at Kingaroy schools for five weeks before departing on 9 March.
Mr Young said the preservice teachers were making the most of their Sunshine Coast experience from their new home base at UniCentral near the campus, and looked forward to celebrating our national day at the beach this weekend.
“It was a massive change when they left three feet of snow at home to arrive on those really hot summer days,” he said. “They love the uni and the accommodation and were amazed to see kangaroos jumping around campus.
“They’ve enjoyed a lot of local sights as well as travelling up to Cairns and down to Brisbane, guided by three USC undergraduate Education students who are acting as Aussie Ambassadors.”
Mr Young said the Americans were learning the similarities and differences between the two countries’ education systems and curricula, with guest USC lectures in areas such as literacy and numeracy, ICT, Australian history, behaviour management and children with special needs.
“It’s the second time in two years we’ve hosted this study tour which is expanding USC’s links with the Fredonia campus of SUNY, along with monthly Skype sessions between USC and SUNY Education staff members,” he said.
“There are many potential benefits for USC, such as research collaborations and professional development. The project is supported by USC International.”
The American students will move to Kingaroy on 2 February to gain teaching experience in classrooms at Kingaroy State High, Kingaroy State Primary, St John’s Lutheran Primary and Saint Mary’s Catholic College from Monday 4 February.
“The schools are very excited about hosting the students, who will be teaching in early childhood, primary and secondary,” Mr Young said.
The tour schedule includes regional attractions such as the Bunya Mountains, Burrandowan Campdraft, Kingaroy Golf Afternoon, Winery Tour and Saturday Dance at Booie Hall.
— Julie Schomberg