Teaching English is one of the most budget-friendly ways to travel, give back to a community, immerse yourself in a new culture, and gain practical teaching experience. Appreciation of cultural diversity and English language skills are increasingly necessary in a global economy. You can help others to expand their personal and professional opportunities, and broaden your own perspective, through your interactions within the school and community. Live abroad while doing something inspiring, fun, and valuable!
Teach Abroad FAQs
Some people mistakenly assume teaching English is an easy way to make money while traveling, but, like any job, requires a unique set of skills.
At the end of the day, teaching a language is far more complex than some assume. If you’re teaching in a classroom (as opposed to one-on-one conversational tutoring), it's best to enter the classroom with a strategy. Being a native English speaker is undoubtedly helpful for student's listening skills and pronunciation. However, the art of teaching is a learned skill. Know what to communicate and what to leave out, how to set up a learning environment that will help students figure out the language, and facilitate — not dominate — discussion. TEFL courses help you learn how to do this.
Additionally, schools across the world are aware of the increasing importance of speaking English, and are trying to get their students the best education possible by making sure they have talented, caring, and — above all — qualified teachers leading each class. Those holding a TEFL certificate are generally paid more for their skillset.
Although not all of our teach programs require TEFL certification, API highly encourages our participants to consider doing so. We offer discounted prices to obtain TEFL certification online, completing 120 hours at your own pace:
- Online TEFL course with tutor support and video lessons: $314
- Online TEFL course without tutor/lessons: $215
- Click here for more information on these options.
This is the question on everyone’s mind! It can be challenging to seek out your own placement abroad, and API specializes in supporting you through every step of the process. We will advise you on the options that best fit your skills and goals, coordinate and confirm your placement abroad prior to your departure, share information about your host country, help you get necessary documents for your visa application, and even arrange your international medical and life insurance. API’s commitment to our participants ensures that you have a solid support network standing behind you before, during, and after your program. Not having to worry about these arrangements means you can focus on preparing for a successful experience abroad.
API’s application fee pays for: an experienced Program Coordinator from our Austin office who will provide personalized attention to help pre-arrange your placement; pre-departure orientation materials and an API t-shirt; full-time emergency response support while you are abroad; and a Krama Wheel or other “pay it forward” bonus. API also prorates the expenses for marketing, advertising, communication, and site visits/development among all of our programs within our application fees.
The program fee offsets the expenses on-site: airport pick-up, orientation, and our local partners' fees and bilingual support, as well as your international medical and life insurance. In many of our programs, the program fee also includes your accommodations. (See “Where will I live?” below for more details.) In many of the locations where our participants teach or volunteer abroad, the organizations and schools most in need of your work are unable to cover all the costs of hosting you in their community. The program fee gives you the opportunity to invest in your host community and contributes to long-term and sustainable relationships between API, our teachers and volunteers, and our partners and host organizations abroad.
Yes, we are happy to connect you with a current or past teacher. Due to confidentiality, please contact our Austin office to receive information about participants and alumni that have agreed to be contacted by prospective applicants. Additionally, we encourage you to check out, use, and get involved with our social media community and read posts on the API blog. These sites will provide great insight into what you should expect while preparing for and enjoying your adventure abroad.
Depending on your program, you may be housed with a host family or in a volunteer lodge, dormitory, or a small, furnished apartment. Please see this chart of what’s included in your program for a full listing of housing and meal options by location.
If your program requires a visa, API will provide visa assistance by sharing information and by providing a letter of invitation from the host school or institution. Please note that any visa fees are the responsibility of the applicant. While we can assist you during the visa application process, ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that you have obtained the appropriate visa for your experience abroad. API has no control over the visa process and cannot guarantee that your visa application will be accepted.
API knows that your adventures abroad wouldn’t be possible without generous hosts welcoming you on your arrival and supporting you throughout your stay. As a way to give back to communities around the world, we want to wrap up your experience and honor your commitment by paying it forward. All participants who respond to our series of program reflection questionnaires will receive a completion bonus from an organization whose mission resonates with our own, and this will, in turn, provide a product or service for someone in need. Choose between a Krama Wheel scarf or a gift card to one of three socially responsible companies.
Krama Wheel – with every product purchased, one weaver is paid fairly, treated respectfully, and better able to support her family; one local seamstress is paid to sew a school uniform, and one child gets a uniform so he or she can attend school.
Krama Wheel's founder is a former API employee, Roni Sivan! Read about her journey here.
You're interested in teaching abroad. Now what?
Here's the what's what on the application process. We need a few things from you to begin.
Participants submit their application by completing the online application and returning any supplementary materials, including a cover letter and résumé/CV. Additional materials may be required for certain programs.
Applications for all programs are accepted on a rolling basis, so there is no set deadline for applications. Most countries and projects require at least three months to process an application. See program pages for specific dates.
Teach Abroad Programs - Most of our teach abroad placements have two to three set start dates throughout the year, with the exception of the following programs whose start dates are arranged according to your travel dates:
- Teach in Vietnam
- Short-Term Teach in China
- Tutor in Italy/France
- TA in Costa Rica
For all other teaching programs, please see the individual program pages for start dates.
- Participants will receive a confirmation via email that the initial application has been received. Once the application is complete, an API Program Manager will contact the participant to conduct a 20-30 minute phone, Google Hangout or Skype interview to discuss their background, goals, and expectations for their time abroad. If all goes well, API will provisionally accept the participant to the program, and the participant will receive a list of required supplemental application materials and an invoice for the program fee.
- The supplemental application materials must be submitted within 14 days (2 weeks) of acceptance. The API Program Manager will then submit the application to our partner abroad, and they will review everything for official acceptance.
- While the participant is waiting for their placement to be confirmed, they may wish to enroll in the optional TEFL course we offer! This course is particularly useful for participants without prior experience teaching English in the US or abroad. Contact an API Program Manager for details.
- Confirmation of the official placement and pre-departure materials are provided after receipt of the full program fee.
- Although not all of our teach abroad programs require TEFL certification, API highly encourages our participants to consider doing so. We offer discounted prices to obtain TEFL certification online, completing 120 hours at your own pace.
- In the event API is unable to make a placement, the complete program fee, including the $150 application fee, will be refunded or may be transferred to another program.
EMAILS: We periodically send participants important program updates, forms, and other program information by email. We encourage participants to check their email regularly during the pre-departure phase so that they do not miss important information!
ORIENTATION MATERIALS: Participants receive orientation materials approximately six weeks prior to the program start. 50% of the program fee must be paid for a participant to receive orientation materials.
FINAL DETAILS: Approximately one-two weeks before participants depart for their destination abroad, API shares final details. Each final email contains the outbound participant’s housing assignment, arrival information, an insurance card, and any other final program details available. Participants will not receive their final details until their API balances are paid in full.
In addition to our full-time teach abroad programs, API also offers students the option to participate in a teaching experience while on a semester, academic year, or summer study abroad program. In some cases, students can earn academic credit, though some opportunities are offered without credit. Most teaching opportunities are included in the cost of the program, though a few are offered for an additional fee.