Overseas Professional Experience



The School of Education has a history of conducting Overseas Professional Experience Programs for Western Sydney University students in such countries as Thailand, Taiwan, Fiji, Cook Islands, Malaysia and China. The opportunity to live and work in another culture broadens and deepens the students' life experiences while encouraging reflection of their role as teachers in their own culture.


There are a number of options proposed for 2016, including study tours to Thailand, China, Taiwan and  Malaysia. The tours are open to all students enrolled in the School of Education programs and the tours have included students from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Education, Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary programs. Students may join the tour to complete: a unit such as Professional Practice 3; an assessment component of a unit such as Learning Through Community Service or Classrooms Without Borders; a non-award unit; or as a career experience not associated with a unit, where the report is added to their professional teaching portfolio.

The Ningbo, China study tour offers a two week program, staying at accommodation in Ningbo University and working in a range of English-speaking activities with Chinese pre-service teachers. The University is located in the historical and cultural city of Ningbo of Zhejiang Province, bordering on the East China Sea. It is hoped that in early January 2016 a tour to Thailand will run. Our program in Nakon Sri Thammarat provides pre-service teachers experiences in local schools (EC/ Primary and Secondary) to assist their students improve their spoken and written English. Students in any of our programs are strongly encouraged to visit our vUWS site and put in an expression of interest.

The Tainan, Taiwan study tour is a part of the Taiwan Experience Education Program (TEEP) that is promoted and funded by the Taiwan Ministry of Education (MOE) to enhance and enrich Taiwan's globalisation strategies. TEEP is coordinated by the Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology (STUST), and co-organised and supported by the Tainan City Government (TCG), to globalise Tainan as a bilingual and internationalised city and facilitate STUST as a global English speaking environment. WSU students will be partnered with a STUST student majoring in Applied English to teach small groups of Taiwanese junior high students during a 2-week English summer camp. English language instruction included classroom learning activities, as well as field trip visits to cultural and historic sites in the Tainan region. The cultural exchange program also includes Chinese language instruction, calligraphy, tea making, and Zen meditation cultural activities. The teaching placement culminated in a final presentation and ceremony, whereby each Australian student and their Taiwanese class gave an English language presentation on one of the significant sites and/or traditional Taiwanese cuisine, as part of the collaborative teaching and learning experience. For more information, visit http://teep.lc.stust.edu.tw/en/node/teep6

The Penang, Malaysia study tour offers students the opportunity to teach for 10 days in Malaysian schools and to experience the rich cultures of Penang Island. Malaysia has a current policy of teaching mathematics and science in English and they welcome English speakers in their schools. Schools in Penang use English across all subjects. Students stay in the SEAMEO RECSAM complex (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics). It shares the vast expanse of the campus grounds with the Federal Teachers' College of Penang in the suburb of Gelugor. It is situated on the city limits of Georgetown, which is the metropolitan capital of the island on the north-western part of Peninsular Malaysia.

Training required

The leaders of each tour will conduct pre-departure information and intercultural sessions. Students need to complete the usual Child Protection course and if intending to teach will need to have completed at least Professional Practice unit.

The OPEP vUWS site has additional materials and tour booklet information available. All SOE students have access to the OPEP vUWS site.

All students must have a current Australian passport and be prepared to purchase travel insurance as part of the requirements after attending and being accepted to partake in any OPEP experience.

Additional information

Students need to make an application via the forms on the vUWS site. Students may complete the PP3 unit and add it to their 2H results or have it as a unit in the 1H semester. (Note: it is actually conducted between semesters).

Students fully fund their own tours. Students are expected to meet their own living costs and any tourist activities outside those included within the tour.

Staff Contacts

Ms. Shirley Gilbert (Kingswood) and Dr Son Truong (Bankstown) are the Coordinators of OPEP programs. Strand leaders (academic staff) will be appointed for each of the tours and will post relevant information on the OPEP vUWS site. Please email Shirley Gilbert or Son Truong for additional information.