How American Teachers Can Travel for Free

Imagine this: it’s mid-winter, just after winter break – when everyone is groaning about going back to work and school. Your colleagues are braving record-breaking snowstorms, preparing for high-stakes testing and facing the monotony of the daily grind. They’re facing unrealistic performance pressure from clueless politicians, administrators who have no faith in them, and parents who have decided teachers are their adversaries. All of this is happening while you’re doing the best possible job of ensuring each student receives the education and attention they need every day – considering their different needs, strengths, interests and temperaments. It’s enough to make one’s head spin just thinking about it!

Now, scene change to your location. You’re in a warm, sunny, sub-tropical village in Vietnam. The weather is perfect, the food is even better, and the sunsets are just to die for. On top of all that, you’re learning and growing every day, being sculpted by the transformative experiences you’re having. You rest well every night knowing that you’re making a difference. You’re training and helping teachers who have fewer resources and/or opportunities to travel, and you’re learning so much to share with your students and fellow teachers back home. On top of all that – your flights were paid for, you’re making a modest stipend, and all of your basics needs are taken care of. You’re now daydreaming of becoming an ex-pat in Vietnam and making this your life long-term.

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It may even sound like I’m about to pitch an MLM or side-business idea to you – but I promise I’m not! While there there isn’t anything wrong with those ideas, you don’t need them to travel for free if you’re a teacher.

And if you don’t have the flexibility or availability to travel throughout the school year, that’s OK too. There’s a wealth opportunities that happen during summers and school breaks.

In this blog post, we’ll explore several ways that teachers can travel for free! Stick with us, and you’ll also learn how to travel recreationally on the cheap, and ways you can get paid to travel!

Let’s get into it.

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching

Being a Fulbright teacher is a life-changing experience. Every educator I’ve talked to who’s done this program cannot sing enough of its praises. The program itself is so broad, in fact, that it can be difficult to explain exactly what it is, as each teacher really creates something unique with it.

Before I go on about how amazing it is, and just how diverse the opportunities for participation are, it’s important to note who’s eligible for this type of experience. Fulbright definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it the best fit for every teacher.

I should also note that this is technically two programs in one, as the long-term and short-term experiences are a bit different from one another.

Ideal Fit
You might teach abroad in India, while simultaneously taking and leading professional development courses for local teachers. Whatever your plan, you must have an interest in and ability to:

*Designing and implementing an inquiry project related to education in the United States and host country
*Building global networks of researchers, practitioners, and policy makers
*Exchanging ideas and best educational practices with teachers from all over the world
*Develop resources and tools that can be used long after the project ends

Note: New teachers are more than welcome to apply, but note that they usually prefer teachers with 5 or more years of experience.

Fulbright teachers must be:
*A U.S. Citizen
*Employed full-time at an accredited K-12 school
*A holder of a Master’s degree (or, they must be enrolled in a Master’s program at the time the grant begins)
*Experienced leaders in professional development activities
*Able to meet current J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board eligibility requirements regarding previous grants
*Employed full-time at an accredited K-12 school (classroom teachers, guidance counselors, curriculum coordinators, special education coordinators, media specialists, librarians, gifted and talented coordinators, and any other school employees who spend at least half of their time interacting with students

The Fulbright program is an amazing opportunity, but it is a TON of work! So, what makes it worth it?

This program covers all travel costs for the orientation and international field experience!

Additionally, each fellow receives a stipend to cover in-country expenses associated with participation in the program, such as housing, meals, transportation, and other miscellaneous items.

Note that the stipend is not intended to replace a participant’s salary. Educators typically negotiate with their schools and districts regarding fully or partially paid leave and benefits. The amount of the stipend provided to each participant will depend on the host country, the duration of the field experience, and other factors. You definitely need full support from your school before embarking on an application for a Fulbright!

Another huge benefit is that the Fulbright Distinguished Awards for U.S. teachers allows you to bring a dependent! And not only that – but your stipend will vary according to the amount of dependents you have with you. This is almost unheard of in program circles. This option does vary depending on the host country and housing types available, so you’ll definitely want to mention this request early in the application process. For programs and hosting institutions that allows dependents, fellows will receive a modest allowance for each dependent that accompanies them for at least 80% of the program. Note that you will need to pay for the travel of any dependents.

This is definitely not a program where you can kick back or go unnoticed. This is only for teachers who want to research, serve and learn! Responsibilities for each teacher vary, depending on their project requirements and the need of their host. It is vital that Fulbright teachers communicate constantly with all parties involved to ensure everyone comes of the experience with what they need, so being a self-starter and clear communicator is essential.

For the semester-long program: Fulbright covers all travel costs for the orientation and international field experience.

During the program, each fellow receives a stipend to cover in-country expenses associated with participation in the program, such as housing, meals, transportation, and other necessary items.

The stipend is not intended to replace a participant’s salary, so applicants need to negotiate with their schools and districts regarding fully or partially paid leave and benefits. The amount of the stipend provided to each participant varies depending on the host country, the duration of the field experience, and other factors.

For the short-term program: The Fulbright Program will fund all international travel costs and a daily honorarium for participants.

The host institution will provide the teacher with arrival and departure support (what is included as far as support may vary), local accommodation, in-country travel, meals, and assistance obtaining a visa, if needed. This assistance includes any necessary visa fees, which is a huge help for certain countries!

Basically, your biggest travel costs (airfare, accommodations and most meals) are covered, and you get paid a stipend, on top of your regular salary! Just ensure you have valid insurance, income and approved leave (if doing the semester-long experience), and additional money for miscellaneous and personal expenses.

Dates and Deadlines
The application for each cycle open in the preceding December. If you’re interested, definitely bookmark the link and set a reminder in your calendar!

Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms

Many students don’t get to travel and see places different from their homes while they are young, so the majority of their exposure to various cultures and ideas comes from the experiences of their teachers. This program is dedicated to that idea, allowing you to gain international experience that can be brought back to your students.

Fulbright TGC is a year-long professional development opportunity for U.S. elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Fulbright TGC equips teachers to bring an international perspective to their schools through targeted training, experience abroad, and global collaboration. The goal of this program is to have teachers bring first-hand experiences from around the world into their classrooms.

Ideal Fit
This program is great for teachers in the United States who want to bring travel into their classroom, especially if they work in an area where students do not get to travel often outside of their immediate region. This is best for teachers who plan to stay in the United States for their career.

Teachers who participate in this program:

*Care about designing and maintaining a globally conscious classroom
*Are ready to have their prejudices, biases and views challenged
*Are committed to bring what they learn back to their school and community in the United States
*Are self-starters, committed to growing personally and professionally as a teacher

To be eligible to participate in TGC, you must:

*Hold a full-time K–12 teaching position in the U.S., a U.S. territory or school associated with Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), including classroom teachers, guidance counselors, curriculum coordinators, special education coordinators, media specialists, librarians, and gifted and talented coordinators and others who spend at least half of their time interacting with students
*Have five years of full-time K-12 teaching experience in the U.S., a U.S. territory or school associated with Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)
*Be a U.S. citizen, and reside in a U.S. state, territory or campus associated with Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)
*Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education and experience
*Demonstrate a commitment to continue teaching or working in their field after completion of the program
*Teachers from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. There is a wide range of current participants, including STEM, English, ELL, social studies, art, business, and special education teachers.
*Guidance counselors, media specialists, technology coaches, and other types of educators are eligible to apply, so long as you are employed full-time as an educator at a U.S. public, private, or charter school, or within the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) at the elementary, middle or high school level (K-12).
*Teachers must have a valid passport before departing for their international field experience

Like any other Fulbright program, there is a considerable commitment to work involved!

The international field experiences take place in the spring and summer, and typically last two to three weeks. This time is an intensive introduction to the host country’s history, education system, and culture. During this time, teachers participating in the program receive intensive orientations to their host country and their host country’s education system. This includes school visits, cultural excursions, meetings with teachers and administrators, and educational workshops. This means you receive a TON of free training, cross-cultural exposure, and insight into education in another culture. This is especially helpful if you want to become an international teacher eventually.

After the orientations and trainings, teachers travel in pairs or trios to host communities around the country. This really makes a difference, especially if you’ve never worked or volunteered abroad before. Having a few teachers with you to experience things alongside you will give you an inherent support system, which is often sorely missing when you first move abroad!

While at the host sites, teachers observe classrooms, interact with administrators, and teach or co-teach their own lessons with international teacher leaders. The travel experience concludes with a debriefing session where teachers reconvene and reflect on their experiences in-country before returning to the United States.

Ok, but what’s included? Pretty much everything! TGC takes care of visa fees, the online course fees (for their online course that must be done before the field experience), airfare, lodging, meals and miscellaneous costs – for the Global Education Symposium in Washington, D.C. (which usually takes place in February), and the International Field Experience. You get two travel experiences in one!

Additionally, the U.S. Department of State provides a health benefit plan, which supplements the teacher’s health insurance. This ensures that you’re covered for sudden illnesses or emergencies that may happen while you’re abroad for the program.

While you don’t get to pick your host country (this is decided by the U.S. Department of State, though you can make requests), the countries that are participating are definitely destination nations in their own right! Past participating host countries include Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Georgia, Russian Federation, Senegal, and Ukraine.

Participants must complete a rigorous, 10-week online course before the international field experience. Expect to devote 7-9 hours a week to it!

While at the symposium in Washington D.C., and during the International Field Experience, teachers must be willing and ready to devote 100% of their time and effort there to the professional betterment of themselves, and those around them. However! 🙂 This doesn’t mean there won’t be time for fun! All of the teachers we know who have done this say this experience was invaluable to them. It’s worth it!

The biggest perk of this program is that there’s really no cost to you! Fulbright even covers incidentals. However, we always recommend taking money with you abroad, even if it’s just for a few weeks. You’ll want to have extra money for gifts, activities, going out, etc.

Dates and Deadlines
The application for each cycle open in the preceding March. If you’re interested in participating in TGC, bookmark this page and keep checking back at the beginning of the year!

Note that they mostly update on Facebook now, so you’ll want to like and follow them there, too.

Qatar Foundation International

QFI has been around since 1995, with the mission of using education to bring understanding, tolerance and acceptance of the Arab world, to the rest of the world. They do this with three main program areas – Arabic language instruction of students, Arab Cultures and Societies (which focuses on teachers learning more about the Arab world through fine and performing arts), and Connected Communities – which connects different geographies with that of those within the Arab world.

Ideal Fit
This particular teacher tour is put on in partnership with GEEO. If you’re personally interested in the Arab world, and/or you’re interested in exposing your students to cultures and ways of life within the Arab world, then the partnership between QFI and GEEO Educator Tours is exactly what you’re looking for.

*Must be a teacher within the U.S.
*Both primary and secondary teachers are welcome to apply
*Teachers in public and public charter schools are welcome to apply
*Preference is given to educators who are in the social science, humanities, and arts fields
*Teachers must demonstrate both a strong interest in and commitment to teaching about the Arab world in their classrooms

All major expenses are covered, including travel, lodging and meals for this particular program.

Of course, the relationships you’ll develop, the people you’ll meet and the learning that will take place are priceless – but getting to tour Qatar and Oman for 12 days without paying for it is an amazing opportunity in itself!

You must not only demonstrate a personal interest in the Arab world; that interest must be coupled with the commitment to bring what you learn from your experience into the classroom. You’ll want to ensure you have ways to document your use of what you’ve learned.

This is another amazing program that has all the major expenses paid! You’ll just want to ensure you have adequate health insurance, travel insurance and money for incidentals and activities.

Dates and Deadlines
While there’s no deadline listed, these trips are coming up quickly in December and March. Hurry and apply before all of the grant money is gone!

Transatlantic Outreach Program

TOP is an amazing opportunity that is fairly competitive, but well worth it if you can make it. This is a true inter-cultural experience, as Americans interact with German teachers, education professionals, students and residents to learn all about Germany’s culture and history.

Ideal Fit
TOP will be appealing to anyone interested in World War II, the Holocaust, or just German history and culture overall. Since the histories of Germany and the United States are so heavily intertwined, it’s important for Americans to educate themselves on the shared past. And of course, any teacher who is interested in visiting Germany will definitely be tempted by the videos and reviews of the program!

*Must be employed in the United States or Canada as social studies and/or STEM educators. This includes classroom teachers (grades K-12), general education/elementary educators, university methods professors, curriculum coordinators, principals, applicable curriculum authors, and applicable state Department of Education employees who teach social studies and/or STEM.
*Since the primary participant of this base is North American, fluency in German is not required.
*Participants must be able to walk about 20,000 steps per day.
*Participating teachers must be willing to take on the role of an avid learner throughout their time in the program.

All major expenses are covered. TOP pays most international and domestic transportation fees, hotel accommodations while abroad, two meals per day (usually breakfast and dinner), and any mandatory study tour-related fees (i.e. museum entry fees, admission, etc).

And the itinerary is incredibly; jam-packed. Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg, Kiel, Dresden, Schwerin, Weimar and Leipzig are all on the list – with plenty of opportunities to explore using all five senses!

This program is highly sought-after and competitive, and it’s engaging. This means participants need to be on their A-game throughout the entire duration of the program. For this section, I found it appropriate to copy the section from their website:

“We ask that all participants come prepared, ready to assume the role of a student and willing to consider new ideas, to proactively engage themselves, to be inquisitive, to be flexible, and to learn as professionals during a fun, yet mentally and sometimes physically intense two weeks in Germany. This is a group study tour. You will spend the majority of your time with the group and there is little free time during the two weeks abroad.”

“To adequately prepare participants for their study tour, we ask for participation in pre-departure webinars that are important for enhancing background knowledge, setting the stage, and providing a foundation for group cohesion. We also require that participants complete pre-departure reading assignments.”

“Upon returning from Germany, every participant is required to 1) author an original unit of learning based on the C3 FRAMEWORK and INQUIRY DESIGN MODEL (IDM) format and 2) conduct one TOP professional development workshop at the local district, state, regional, or national level by May 1, 2021. The ‘unit’ may consist of any ‘contemporary-Germany-related’ topics of the participant’s choosing but should be aligned to C3 (College, Career, Civic Life) or NGSS (for STEM) standards for learning with the goal of enhancing and assessing students’ global competence.”

Most of the major costs are covered, however, you want to be aware of what’s not:
*TOP will not pay for any incurred airline baggage fees.
*TOP will not pay for transportation fees in Washington D.C. during the pre-trip orientation.
*TOP will not pay for passport or visa renewal fees.
*TOP will not cover any hotel incidental expenses (i.e. long-distance telephone service, laundry service, mini bar, etc).
*TOP strongly recommends that participants bring at least $400 with them to cover one meal per day, as well as any miscellaneous activities or costs.

Dates and Deadlines
For the 2020 year, you must apply by Monday, January 27th to be considered. Do not be late! They won’t even review late applications!

Do ensure that you allot enough time for the application process. TOP estimates that applicants spend approximately 5-10 hours.

TEACH Bahrain Fellowship

This program had it’s inception in 2009. It was birthed as a way to provide U.S. educators an opportunity to visit the Middle East, allowing them to gain insight into the culture, challenges and opportunities experienced by their peers living and from there.

Ideal Fit
Any teacher who is genuinely interested in learning about life in the Middle East will benefit, though I think this would be especially helpful for teachers working with students who have never been to or met someone from the Middle East.

*Must be employed in the United States as an educator
*Must be willing to share what you learn with your students and colleagues

All major expenses are covered. There is a small application fee of $25, as well as a small fee toward the program – but all major expenses are included! And, it can be free by funding your trip (that post is coming soon!). Not to mention, Bahrain is just a unique place. Isolated enough to have it’s own, distinct culture – yet, with a flavor that’s familiar to anyone with an affinity for the Middle East.

Participants must be ready and willing to be fully involved. The experience is a bit of a whirlwind, as teachers cover a lot of metaphorical (and physical!) ground in a very short amount of time! Teachers must also be enthusiastic about learning all they can about the culture, and bringing their newfound knowledge into the classroom.

Though most of the major costs are covered for participants, you will pay:
*A $25 application fee
*A small fee for the program (disclosed in the application process)
You’ll always want to bring money for incidentals, souvenirs, activities and etc.

Dates and Deadlines
Opportunities for the following Fall, Spring and Summer generally close in December, so bookmark this one for 2021 if you’re interested.

Teach Earth USA Fellowship (Earthwatch Institute)

This program is unique in the sense that it allows teachers to experience the work of field scientists. During Teach Earth USA, American teachers join field scientists on expeditions across the world for hands-on projects. You might track endangered mammals in Costa Rica, or measure the circumference of trees in a cloud forest. This is a unique type of experience and fellowship.

Ideal Fit
American teachers who enjoy science, are passionate about conservation and the natural world, and who enjoy learning by doing, will absolutely love this program. Participants should also have a high level of openness to new things, as their schedule will definitely be different than what they’re used to!

Participants must be K-12 classroom teachers with U.S. citizenship, available to travel for 7-14 days (during the designated dates for the field expedition). Applicants should demonstrate that they’re passionate not only about teaching in itself, but about the opportunity to learn from and grow with other educators. Applicants should also be ready to explain how they will share what they’re learning with their class at home.
Important note! You can only qualify for TWO Teach Earth USA Fellowships in your lifetime, unless you return as a Senior Fellow – so think carefully about when and where you’d want to go with this program!

There are full and partial scholarships available for this program. It is highly competitive, so be sure to put time and effort into your application! Fellows are chosen based on their demonstrated merit.

This is not a scholarly fellowship where teachers will be in a lab or classroom! When they say “field expedition,” they mean it. You will be out in the field, getting up early and wearing snake guards (yes, that’s a thing in the rainforest), doing all of the same work they’re doing. If you’re not into hiking, sweating, animals, getting up early and doing physical, manual labor, this isn’t the fellowship for you. If the thought of an adventure somewhere wild doing conservation work IS exciting, then this may be the perfect fit!

On top of doing the legwork during the fellowship, teachers must demonstrate evidence of their bringing back what they’ve learned and become passionate about, back into their classrooms.

You can choose to either apply for a partial or full scholarship. Full scholarships are obviously more desirable, which makes the program application in that pool more competitive. If you’re willing to apply for a partial scholarship, you can apply for grants, crowdfund or earn money in other ways to supplement the costs.

On this site, you’ll find ways to supplement your teacher income if you stick with us! After you’ve read this post, be sure to take a look around the site!

Dates and Deadlines
If you’d like to go this summer, be sure to to put January 10th, 2020 on your calendar. You’ll probably want to get that application done over Winter Break, because that’s less than a month from now!

If you’d like to save this opportunity for another time, be sure to bookmark the page.

NOAA’s Teacher at Sea

This fellowship is similar to Earthwatch’s Teach Earth USA program in the sense that you would be working on the front-lines, with scientists, on actual expeditions. It’s definitely a unique experience which teachers treasure and students benefit from. As stated in the video, students living in certain areas may never meet or connect with a scientist otherwise.

Ideal Fit
American teachers who are up for an adventure and excited to do work in the field. Participants must be able to travel well on a boat, since they’ll be there for a while! The program includes 14-16 days, exclusive of travel to and from boarding the ship.

To be qualified to apply, you must be:
*A citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States
*Fully employed this current year, with proof of being so next year
*A Pre-K12 teacher, college/university professor, museum or aquarium educator, or an adult education teacher.
*Be open, flexible and willing to take directions
*Have unique methods and ideas for communicating complex science concepts to students
*Supported by your school administrator/principal

All major expenses are covered! This includes transportation to and from the ship, lodging and a per-diem travel allowance. Here’s the big one: FLIGHTS ARE ALSO PAID FOR! Do note, however, that the flight is purchased directly by the program, so you’ll need to communicate clearly about your dates and needs. While all other costs are covered, you’ll be reimbursed after the program – so you’ll want to ensure you have enough money saved for all of your costs before the program starts. And be sure to save your receipts!

This is another fellowship where teachers will be actively involved! Since fellows actively conduct research in the field with designated field scientists, and since they will be living on a ship, teachers need to be able to follow a set schedule with established rules. They must also have foundational science knowledge, and interests pertaining to the science conducted by NOAA. Since so many of the topics covered include a wide variety of phenomena, teachers should be skilled at communicating these tough concepts to students in a way that’s engaging and interest-inducing.

This is one of those unicorn programs where all costs are covered by the U.S. Government. It is very unique in that sense, as even your travel to get to and from the fellowship destination is included. While the program arranges any necessary air transport, it’s important for you to have accessible funds that cover your costs throughout the program, as their coverage comes by way of reimbursement.

Dates and Deadlines
The application deadline for the summer of 2020 has already passed. But if this program interests you for 2021, note that the application will open in November of 2020. That gives you a whole year to talk with other teachers who have done it, and to ensure your application is in ship shape (pun totally intended)!

American Friends of Russian Folklore Expeditions

When considering where to spend a spring or summer learning, Russia may not be the first to come to mind – but it is definitely worth considering. Russia is a vast country, dotted with delightful villages which have been largely isolated from the rest of the world. This means their songs, stories, ways of life and overall culture have been well-preserved while the rest of the world has globalized. That’s what makes this opportunity so appealing. You get to travel this unique country to experience it first-hand, while documenting what you see along the way.

The example above is a preview into Maslenitsa, better known as Butter Week or Pancake Week. One of the opportunities available would allow you to experience this unique cultural event first-hand.

Ideal Fit
American teachers who have the skill of storytelling through fine, performing or digital arts will find a perfect marriage of their interests within this opportunity. Anyone interested in ethnomusicology will be particularly fascinated by these expeditions.

What makes this opportunity unique, is the fact that these expeditions are open to interested candidates from all over the world. Their priority is ensuring that volunteers are of sound physical, mental and emotional health, considering the varied conditions of rural living in Russia.

However, it’s important to note that they only offer two scholarships of $2,000 each year. One goes to any interested citizen to the United States, who can demonstrate interest and willingness to share what they learn of rural Russian village life with Americans. The other goes to a an American K-12 teacher or curriculum specialist, which is why we’ve included it on this list.

Participants must be able and willing to:
*Walk a level mile (1.6 k) in 30 minutes
*Carry all their own luggage up and down stairs
*Use pit toilets with no seats
*Adapt to local cuisine
*Deal with dust, mold, pollen and animal dander

Participants must have:
*Mental stability while immersed in unfamiliar culture, language, environment, activities and society
*Flexibility and patience necessary for teamwork
*Emotional stability, with no extreme highs or lows
*Tolerance for lack of privacy and lack of certainty
*Tolerance and respect for unfamiliar customs

The experience alone is unique. In recent years, Russia has become increasingly difficult for Americans to visit, save for a few loopholes. The visa itself is about $400, and scholarships for teachers to visit Russia are few and far between – so opportunities like this are worth bookmarking!

Moreover, those who visit Russia usually just stick to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk, along with a few others. If you go on one of these expeditions, you’ll have a look inside the Russian way of life that used to span the entire country.

Because it’s so different there, it’s worth mentioning that sanitation and comfort standards there will be different for Westerns. You’ll use pit toilets, carry your own water from a local well, and collect your own firewood for heat (in places where it’s still chilly in summer). You’ll also walk A LOT. If these things don’t sound appealing to you, then they may not be benefits. But for the adventurous teacher who wants to have an authentic view into another culture and time, this would be an absolute treat.

The scholarships require an interest and willingness to document your experience, with the intention of educating the American public on the rural ways of village life in Russia. Teachers go about this in different ways. You could blog, vlog, paint, record music, feature translated interviews on a podcast, there are so many things you can do with it. Just be sure to go in with a plan for how you will share your experience if you end up getting a scholarship!

Each expedition varies in cost, as the specific demands of each trip vary. Scholarships are available for $2,000, which will cover most if not all of your programs. They also have a myriad of resources for funding available if you’re willing to do the leg work!

Dates and Deadlines
Each expedition has it’s own application deadline. They vary from December through March – so if you’re wanting to go in summer of 2020, start working on your application now!

American Councils for International Education

American Councils for International Education (ACIE) really offers a plethora of opportunities for people of all ages, skill levels and education to pursue educational experiences abroad – but for teachers, this resource is especially interesting, as all of their programs are either fully-funded by them or a third-party organization.

Ideal Fit
TCLP (Teachers of Critical Languages Program) fosters relationships between various countries – so for this program, English teachers from the Egypt, China Morocco are eligible and encouraged to apply. U.S. elementary or secondary teachers are also welcome to apply, if they’re seriously interested in starting or strengthening a Chinese or Arabic program at their school.

AFPR (Academic Fellowships Program in Russia) is a great opportunity for graduate students, doctoral candidates, university faculty and post-doctoral fellows who have some fluency in Russian to explore and study on a fellowship sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

EducationUSA provides support and guidance to students looking to study at American colleges and universities. International high school, college or graduate students are eligible to apply – so if you’re studying to become a teacher, or if you’re pursuing your graduate degree in education as a serving teacher, you’re eligible to apply for this one.

Politics and Public Diplomacy in Contemporary Russia
is an opportunity to undergraduates, graduates, working teachers and other professionals. This educational and intellectual 5-week program in Russia allows people to study the political, social and economic changes that have taken place in Russia since the dissolution of the USSR, Cold War, Soviet Union and even since Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. Note that this program is not fully-funded, but there are scholarships available if you’re interested in pursuing this one.

Chinese Overseas Flagship
allows U.S. undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the language flagship program a chance to increase their proficiency in the Chinese language through focused stateside study, combined with an immersive language experience in China. These universities participate in this program: Arizona State University; Brigham Young University; Hunter College; Indiana University; San Francisco State University; University of Hawaii, Manoa; University of Minnesota; University of Mississippi; University of North Georgia; University of Oregon; University of Rhode Island; and Western Kentucky University.

The Indonesian Overseas Program is an intensive semester or academic-year overseas immersion program open to all levels of language learners, of the Indonesian language. Note that this particular program is not fully funded like many of the other ones by this ACIE, but that scholarships are available.

The Russian Overseas Program is open to U.S. undergraduates in the Language Flagship Program at these participating universities: Bryn Mawr College, Indiana University, Portland State University, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Georgia, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This one is fully funded for those who meet their requirements and are selected!

Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training is an 8-week internship coverings the fields of business, democracy-building, human rights, education, science, technology, gender issues, journalism, public health, environmental education and social services. Internships are available in over 20 countries, and would be a solid fit for any undergraduate or graduate students, as well as teachers and other professionals, interested in international education, international relations.

The Balkan Language Initiative is open to undergraduates, graduates and professionals with two or more semesters of experience and/or study in Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Macedonian or Serbian languages. Participants will enjoy a full language immersion experience through home-stays, conversations and in-class instruction, with the goal of increasing language proficiency and confidence. Though this program is self-funded, there are scholarships available – so it’s always worth applying if you meet the requirements!

Peace and Security in the South Caucasus participants spend five weeks in Tblisi, Georgia studying the politics, culture, and history of the South Caucasus. No language proficiency is required, as the whole program is conducted in English at Ilia University. Language instruction is also provided in Armenian, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Georgian, or Russian, and participants can earn 8-10 academic credits in political science and sociology from Bryn Mawr College.

Note that this is definitely not an exhaustive list of all programs offered by them, and that I’ve endeavored to only include programs that current, prospective or future teachers would be interested in and eligible for. If you know high school students, or teachers, students and/or professionals from countries listed above who would be interested in these programs, please feel free to to send this info to them!

As you can see from the individual programs listed above, eligibility requirements greatly vary from program to program.

Since each program offered provides such unique experiences in different places, it would take forever to articulate the benefits for each individual program, but they definitely share some common factors. They each provide interesting opportunities to explore, travel, learn and share immersive cultural and language experiences with people from all over the world. What really stands out about these programs to me is the fact that most of them are fully funded, and they explore areas of the world often forgotten by many teachers seeking sponsored travel (i.e. the middle East, eastern Europe and central Asia, for instance).

Responsibilities vary according to the needs and qualifications of participants in each program – but the general idea is, be sure to read the materials carefully when applying to ensure you can meet what is required of selected candidates. If the program requires language proficiency, be sure that you are confident to use that language daily. If there are stateside requirements to be completed before international travel, schedule enough time for it considering your other obligations. 6 months seems like a long time – but considering everything filling our time in a week, 6 months can actually mean you only have 4 days to do a particular task. It seems like something that goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning when applying for these types of programs – especially when donors are seeking out something specific to be done or produced by the end of a fellowship!

Most of these programs are completely funded either by ACIE, or by a non-profit or university they work with. If the program states that it’s “self-funded,” note that this still means there are scholarships available, though there aren’t enough for every participant. Don’t let this put you off from applying, though! Just take extra care and time with your application, and have several people read it before it’s finally sent.

Dates and Deadlines
Each program has it’s own application dates and deadlines. If you’re applying to multiple programs (either from this organization or multiple), I recommend creating a Google Sheet or Excel sheet outlining what is required when – then, line this up with your Gmail calendar to ensure everything is done and submitted when it needs to be.

I’ve done a fair amount of research and leg work to ensure that the information above is accurate and up to date – but if you see something amiss, I want to hear it. Let me know so I can correct it!

If you’ve applied for any of these, and/or if you’ve complete one of these programs or fellowships, we want to hear from you! Come share your experiences with us.

And if you’re just interested in learning more about opportunities for teachers to travel, join our community.

About Author

I'm just another teacher who loves to travel! I currently live and teach on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, which is a destination in it's own right. I love discussing, sharing and creating opportunities for teachers to travel farther and more often.

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(1) Comment

  1. sarah bajc

    hi brittany! one of the other teachers at my school referred me to your site. you have an awesome idea brewing here! i have been an international teacher for 11 years now, and was an expat business person for 20 years prior to that. i would like to offer my emerging permaculture farm and eco resort as a potential option for you to offer to teachers wanting to travel during school holidays for a unique experience. while i am still a full time teacher at the international school of panama, my husband and i have been building camaroncito ecoresort and permaculture farm since 2018. we are located on the Caribbean coast of panama and have a totally private beach front plus 16 acres of nearly virgin rainforest. we would offer a 10% discount off published ALL INCLUSIVE rates for anyone who is a teacher plus their travel partner. please check out http://www.camaroncito.net and let me know if you have an interest in including us in your offerings.

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