The Transdisciplinary and Critical Cross-Cultural STEM Project (TC3-STEM) is an on-going, longitudinal study with a focus on enhancing elementary pre-service teachers’ self-efficacy in critical-cross cultural education and transdisciplinary STEM integration. Using a hybrid design, we explored the impact of the TC3-STEM project on students enrolled in two different science methods courses (N=31) taught by the same instructor. Findings revealed that participants’ perceptions of preparedness (self-efficacy) to integrate science, STEM and cross-cultural education significantly improved. However, most students were not able to implement what they learned in their methods courses during their 27 hours school-based student practicum. Most pre-service teachers explained that science was not being taught and/or their cooperating teachers neither integrated cross-cultural education nor STEM in any of their classes. These findings illustrate the ongoing challenges between what pre-service teachers are expected to do by innovative teacher preparation programs informed by the NGSS and the realities of working in regular school contexts which continued to be dominated by mandated testing requirements.