Overseas learning experiences (student and teacher exchanges)

Overseas learning experiences:

  • help to broaden and internationalise the outlook of students and educators
  • involve opportunities to spend time in another country
  • allow international delegates to experience Victoria and our education system.

Overseas learning experiences are available for teachers, school leaders and students in Victorian schools. Overseas delegations visit Victoria to deepen their understanding of Victorian education policy and practice.

We run international delegation programs for international visitors that include school visits.

Resource eBook for schools

Overseas Learning Experiences for Students: A Resource for Schools includes effective planning, implementation and integration of student overseas learning experiences into school programs. It draws upon the work of schools that have successfully incorporated such experiences into whole-school programs for international education.

For more information, see:

Programs for educators

Overseas learning experiences give school leaders and educators the opportunity to develop their practice through study, benchmarking and teaching in overseas countries.

Victorian International Teaching Fellowship Program

The Victorian International Teaching Fellowship (VITF) Program is a 12 month international professional development opportunity for outstanding Victorian teachers.

In an increasingly inter-connected world, the VITF provides Victorian teachers with a unique opportunity to build their Intercultural Capabilities and Global Citizenship skills while immersed in a new teaching environment. Upon returning to Victoria, participants share their new perspectives with their Victorian students and schools thereby enhancing their ability to engage with an increasingly multicultural community in Victoria.

The VITF is a reciprocal exchange program that is open to teachers from Victoria’s government, independent and Catholic schools who exchange with teachers predominantly from Canada, the US, UK and Germany.

While overseas, Victorian participants are ambassadors for the Victorian education system and must be of the highest calibre.

All Victorian participants are required to complete a research project that is aligned to their school’s priorities and their Annual Implementation Plans/equivalent and informed by their VITF experience. The research project is an important element of the VITF experience and an opportunity for powerful learning that can be shared and translated into action and school improvement upon the teacher’s return.

The program is open to permanent teachers and school leaders from government, Catholic and independent schools with a minimum of four years' tertiary education and five years' teaching experience prior to the year of exchange. Australian citizens and permanent residents working in primary, secondary and special schools are eligible to apply.

For further information regarding the program email Rithy Dourng at vitf@edumail.vic.gov.au

Republic of Korea - Victoria (AUS) Teacher Exchange Program

We facilitate a reciprocal teacher exchange with the Republic of Korea in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Asia Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU).

The Republic of Korea - Victoria (AUS) Teacher Exchange Program - Teaching Abroad for Global Competency Program aims to promote mutual understanding through the exchange of teachers. The program provides participating teachers and schools with opportunities to learn from one of the world's highest performing systems to build professional practice and leadership capability.

For further information, email: international@edumail.vic.gov.au 

Aichi - Victoria Teacher Exchange Program

We have developed the Aichi - Victoria Teacher Exchange Program in partnership with the Aichi Prefectural Board of Education, Japan. The program is a continuation of an exchange program that commenced in 2015 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the sister state relationship between the State of Victoria and Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

The Aichi - Victoria Teacher Exchange Program aims to promote mutual understanding between the education systems of Aichi and Victoria and provide participating teachers with opportunities to teach abroad.

The Program is implemented in two phases and involves Japanese language teachers from six Victorian secondary schools exchanging with six Aichi teachers of English. Phase one involves the Aichi teachers participating in professional development in Melbourne and immersion in a Victorian school for four weeks during July and August. Phase two involves secondary teachers from Victoria immersed in their Japanese partner teacher's school in Aichi for four weeks (dates to be determined).

The aims of the Aichi - Victoria Teacher Exchange Program are to:

  • strengthen language education in Victoria and Aichi by providing an opportunity for teachers from both countries to explore and develop effective practice in second language teaching
  • provide an opportunity for Victorian teachers to improve their Japanese language skills and for teachers from Aichi to develop their English language skills
  • strengthen internationalisation of Victorian and Aichi schools through the promotion of ongoing collaboration between schools
  • promote mutual understanding between the two sister states

Applications to participate in the program in 2017 will be sought from interested secondary schools with a current Japanese language program or a demonstrated interest in Japanese language and culture.

  • selected schools must commit to releasing their teacher for the reciprocal exchange to Aichi
  • the Aichi teacher will be home-stayed in accommodation organised by their Victorian host school. We will provide a homestay allowance to host schools
  • We will provide accommodation for Aichi teachers in Melbourne for their attendance at an orientation program
  • Victorian teachers must cover their own return airfare and travel insurance

Asia Education Foundation study tours

The Asia Education Foundation (AEF) conducts study tours for Victorian teachers and school leaders to a range of countries in Asia.

A key element of these tours is to provide opportunities for the development of professional practice through participation in overseas study programs to countries in Asia.

AEF promotes Asia literacy for young Australians, which includes knowledge, skills and understanding histories, geographies, societies, cultures, literatures and languages of the diverse countries of our region.

These programs support the Department's goal to enhance international experiences for Victorian students and educators.

For more details about these study tours, see Study programs to Asia.

Maximising the in-country experience

Evaluation of program trials has indicated that the following factors are essential to ensure the success of a networked teacher overseas learning experience:

  • participating schools are ideally from an existing cluster and can collaborate to share experiences and learnings
  • careful consideration by participating schools and region to identify and agree on a country for the study program and objectives that meet local needs
  • strong commitment at school level to the internationalising education agenda with support from the region
  • involvement of a school team, comprised of the Principal and up to two teachers
  • commitment to building sustainable sister school relationships that can support ongoing opportunities for student and teacher exchange and enhanced language learning at the school
  • a return visit to consolidate the relationship

For more information on the network based teacher overseas learning experience, see:

Contact Lu Hong Shen, Senior Project Officer, International Education Division at shen.lu.hong.l@edumail.vic.gov.au

Programs for students

An overseas learning experience gives students the opportunity to live and learn in a different culture. Students develop cultural literacy, global knowledge, cross cultural communication skills and international networks.

These skills have been identified as essential to 21st century learners who will be looking at their future employment opportunities and life choices from a global perspective.

For more information, see Victorian Young Leaders to China Program.

When planning your overseas learning program, it is important to consider the potential impact of your group’s program. 

The Commonwealth Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has developed smart volunteering guidelines to advise schools of their responsibilities when travelling overseas. This is a valuable resource and should form part of your planning process. 

For more information, see Smart Volunteering

International delegation programs

We can facilitate short term programs to give international delegations an insight into the Victorian education system and provide the opportunity for the exchange of ideas between the delegates and hosts.

Delegations can be from overseas education departments, schools and institutions.

The programs can include:

  • a general overview of our scope of work
  • Victoria's approach to professional development, curriculum, assessment, reporting and pedagogy, school management and internationalising the curriculum.

For further information email international@edumail.vic.gov.au

Hosting an international delegation

Hosting a delegation of overseas visitors is a great opportunity for your school’s leaders, teachers and students to benefit from professional and cultural exchange.

The school community gets the opportunity to establish links with another country and the experience can enhance teaching programs to make language, cultural and international studies come alive.

It can also be the start of an ongoing partnership between your school and overseas schools.

Study tours in Victorian schools

Victorian government schools welcome visiting groups of overseas students for short term study experiences. Short term study tours are an excellent way for overseas students to experience education, culture and lifestyle in Victoria. Study tours also benefit Victorian schools and communities by promoting language, cultural and international studies.

About study tours

A study tour is a school-based short term study program that places groups of school-aged (minimum 10 years of age) overseas students in Victorian government schools. The duration of a study tour can be from three days to 12 weeks.

Overseas students undertaking a study tour:

  • gain new skills and knowledge through a combination of school-based learning and hands-on, educational excursions
  • improve their English through English as an Additional Language lessons and practice in a variety of settings
  • interact and learn with Victorian students to develop friendships and intercultural understanding
  • experience Australian culture and lifestyle through homestay with Victorian families

Study tours – choice of program

Themed study tours

Themed study programs are now available for overseas students. These programs are tailored to provide student groups with positive educational experiences and include a wide range of excursions with partner education centres. Study tour themes include:

  • science and technology
  • performing and visual arts
  • leadership and sports

Flexible study tour option

An option which provides flexibility to overseas students to design their own Study Tour is also available. This program provides student groups with greater flexibility in selecting their preferred program components as part of their study tour.

Who organises study tours

We negotiate tour requirements with registered study tour operators representing the study groups. Study tour operators must register with us. They cannot contact schools directly to organise study tours.

Host schools support

Our International Education Division oversees the registration process of tour operators, and provides support and advice to schools, particularly schools hosting for the first time. Also a School Resource Guide, accessible online, aggregates relevant legislation, information, requirements and policies that will assist in the governance, management and administration of study tours in Victorian government schools.

Benefits of hosting a study tour

Benefits to the host school

  • establishes and strengthens productive relationships between Victorian and overseas schools
  • presents opportunities to develop longer term international programs and projects
  • strengthens language programs and incorporates global perspectives into the curriculum
  • promotes greater diversity in the school communities and improves cross-cultural understanding
  • promotes the Victorian education system and quality of the school program internationally

Benefits to students, teachers and host families

  • opportunities for two-way learning and networking
  • encourages friendships, responsibility and increased self-confidence
  • promotes cultural sharing and understanding
  • reinforces commitment to additional language studies

Becoming a host school

Stage 1

The school may:

  • be approached by the Department regarding hosting a group
  • approach the Department with a query about a proposed program or to express their interest in becoming a host school

Stage 2

We will:

  • clarify program obligations with the principal
  • brief the principal and designated school contact person

For more information and to view our policy, see Short-term study tours for overseas students.