Four Gustavus Students Begin Student Teaching in Spain

Posted on October 24th, 2014 by

Lars Ericson, Emilie Scott, Jessica Ries and McKenna Jones in Sotogrande.

Lars Ericson, Emilie Scott, Jessica Ries and McKenna Jones in Sotogrande.

Elementary and secondary education majors at Gustavus Adolphus College have a unique opportunity to travel abroad and fulfill their student-teaching requirements simultaneously. Four Gustavus students—Lars Ericson ’15, McKenna Jones ’15, Jessica Ries ’15, and Emilie Scott ’15—recently arrived in Sotogrande, Spain, to do just that.

While many education majors at Gustavus choose to complete their student-teaching experience near the College or in the Twin Cities, there are other unique opportunities available. While Sotogrande is an option for those student-teaching in the fall, education majors student-teaching in the spring can apply for an alternative domestic site in Barrow, Alaska. The program has been popular among Gustavus students.

“We all felt that this opportunity would be beneficial for us as future teachers because we are able to see another education system as well as learn about other cultures we see in the school,” Jones said. “The school where we are currently student teaching has 44 different nationalities in its student population. After working with such a diverse group of students, we feel that we will be better able to reach our students in our future jobs.”

The four Gustavus students currently in Spain are working at the Sotogrande International School, which is an International Baccalaureate day and boarding school for English speakers. Jones and Scott are working in a P2 classroom, which is equivalent to first grade. Ries is working in a P6 classroom, which is equivalent to fifth grade. Ericson is teaching in M3 and M5 classrooms, which is equivalent to eighth and tenth grade.

Not long after returning from Spain, the four students will begin to think about applying for their first job. Ericson says he is looking forward to teaching high school English in an urban environment or perhaps even internationally.

“I’m passionate about education because I see it as a transformative experience,” Ericson said. “Just as education can so often be a negative experience in a student’s life, it can just as often be liberating and exciting.”

Inside Sotogrande International School.

Inside Sotogrande International School.

Scott echoed Ericson’s thoughts and is excited about the chance to impact the lives of young people.

“I truly believe that education is the foundation of our world, and education whether in a good or bad setting can really affect a child’s life,” Scott said. “I want to be a part of that impact in order to build and teach the future leaders of the world.”

Ries said that she had no intention of going into teaching when she first came to Gustavus, but that over time she discovered that the field of education is where she belonged.

“I feel excited everyday going in to schools and teaching and watching my students grow,” Ries said. “It is a very powerful feeling to know that you are he tool for someone’s growth. As a teacher, I can help students reach their potential.”

You can follow Ericson, Jones, Ries, and Scott during their journey in Sotogrande as the group will post frequent updates on the “Gusties in Spain” blog at


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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