Mobility in International Teacher Education


In this project sponsored by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and hosted by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), the Heidelberg School of Education is working together with the Faculty of Modern Languages at Heidelberg University to strategically integrate international mobility into teacher training courses and instigate new initiatives for the further internationalisation of teacher education.

Bild HSE 65

In a world which is increasingly connected, and evermore culturally and linguistically diverse, internationalisation is becoming key to future proofing teacher training. By developing international mobility as part of Bachelor’s courses related to teaching, strengthening international university partnerships in teacher education, and promoting the development of future teachers’ transcultural skills, the project is recognising internationalisation as a key priority.

At the heart of the project are periods of study or work experience abroad, which all students completing a Bachelor’s degree with a teaching degree option at the Faculty of Modern Languages are now encouraged to undertake. This initiative is based on a system of funding, and through changes to the structural requirements for teacher training courses which promote international mobility. The project focuses specifically on the professionalisation of scholarship holders as future teachers. This is supported by specialist seminars which students attend both before and after their stay abroad. As part of the module Berufsorientierende Praxisphasen (BOPs, “Professional Practice Periods”), which students complete as part of their Bachelor’s degree course with a teaching degree option, students are able to spend their second professional work placement (BOP2) in a formal or informal educational institution abroad. Where Bachelor’s students choose to spend this period at an international partner university, agreements enable them to continue studying their second course subject as well as pedagogical content during their time abroad. Although this project is currently aimed at students who are studying modern foreign languages, it is hoped that international mobility will ultimately become an important component in teacher education across all subject areas and disciplines.


As part of the project, a diverse range of measures have been taken at various levels to ensure that teacher training courses are increasingly oriented towards international mobility. Such measures are also designed to enable students to engage with questions and issues relating to international teacher education:

  • funding for students enrolled in a teacher training programme of English, French, Italian, Russian or Spanish at partner universities in Birmingham, Montpellier, Paris, Naples, St. Petersburg and Valparaíso
  • a range of courses and events held at Heidelberg University as part of the programme “Internationalisation at Home”, which are open to all students on courses with relevance to teaching, as well as teacher educators (researchers and academics involved in teacher training)
  • academic exchange with partner universities through cooperative trips and guest lecturers
  • an international summer school focussing on the topic “Transculturality in Teacher Education” for students on teacher training courses at Heidelberg University, or at any of the project partner universities.

The project is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within its initiative „Internationalisation of Teacher Training” from September 2019 to December 2022. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the funding organisation for this funding line.