International Field Experience as an Impetus for Personal and Professional Transformation: Through the Lens of Early Childhood Postsecondary Students

Jul. 01, 2015

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 36, p. 196–210, 2015
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examined the international field experience of Canadian Early Childhood Education Diploma and Early Childhood Leadership Degree students.

The participants were Canadian students, who engaged in a 4-week placement to Liberia, Costa Rica in the winter of 2013.
Data were collected through self-reflective journals, interviews, and e-mail correspondences.

The findings indicate that an international field experience enhances learning and growth for the early childhood education and early childhood leadership student, in both personal and professional domains.
The pedagogical approach, which includes the roles of faculty who facilitate an international placement, was also found to be a principal theme in the data analysis.


Based on the findings, the author recommends on an orientation process that allows for opportunities for students to:
(a) explore content related to culture shock, boundaries, and vicarious trauma;
(b) familiarize self with the culture, systems, and pedagogical approach of the host country;
(c) explore individual and group goals for the project;
(d) begin the process of developing relationships, and collaborating with, faculty and teammates enrolled in the international experience; and
(e) consider challenges and experiences that may lead to disequilibrium, commonly associated with an overseas placement.


Early childhood education and early childhood leadership are emerging fields of study; most notably in relation to research investigating the experiences of Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Early Childhood Leadership (ECL) students participating in an international placement. This paper endeavors to contribute to a largely unexplored facet of research, namely that of early childhood education and early childhood leadership students who embark on an international placement, with the aim of advancing scholarship in this domain of study.

Updated: Jun. 26, 2017