How to Find the Right Teacher Exchange Program

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Various organizations offer different types of teacher exchange programs for teachers, school administrators and even support staff.

Teacher exchange programs allow teachers to work overseas and experience other cultures, as well as learn different educational practices.

If you are an educator and you are considering teaching abroad, there are a number of programs to look into, each subject to specific terms and conditions. Here’s what you need to know:

What Can I Do?

There are five basic types of employment opportunities for teachers and educators to teach overseas.

One involves teaching in a U.S. public school located overseas. These schools are operated by the U.S. government and are meant for families of those stationed abroad.

Another way of teaching in a foreign country is to teach in private international school with “American-style” curriculum’s and programs. There are many are programs out there that specifically hire English teachers to teach English to locals, for example.

Who Can Apply?

SunshineAny full-time permanent teacher, principal or support staff member with at least five years of experience can apply for an overseas teaching appointment. However, landing a position is not always easy.

Some teacher exchange programs are more complicated than others to qualify for and acquire a position, depending on your field of expertise.

There are, of course, various issues to consider. More often than not, single, childless young adults will be considered for positions over those who apply that are married with families. Other issues to be aware of are those that involve both benefits and residency. Do your homework and decide what programs are best suited to fit your needs as a teacher.

Rules and Regulations

Because teaching is a regulated profession everywhere you go in the world, one who wishes to teach in a foreign country must adhere to all local laws and practices. If you’re considering teaching in a specific country, it’s a good idea to find out what specific qualifications you’ll need to be able to do so.

You really can’t just say “I want to go somewhere, I don’t care where.” The easiest places to go are American-accredited schools abroad. Note that having a teaching license in America does not automatically qualify you to teach in any foreign country.

English Teaching Opportunities

If you are an English teacher, you might want to consider signing up to the English Language Fellow Program or the English Language Specialist Program as these send educators in the field of English to host countries for ten-month fellowships. Known as TESOL or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, the program is administered through local American Embassies and Consulates and supported by RELOs (Regional English Language Officers).

U.S. Peace Corps

If you wish to teach overseas and are open to work as a volunteer, the Peace Corps is a good way to go. Peace Corps volunteers are selected regardless of age or experience level and trained for up to two-year assignments in other countries. The Peace Corps is the largest temporary program for teaching in the United States. You aren’t paid much more than living expenses, but you do receive a ~$7,000 reward upon return to transition back to American life, and you can also receive up to $5,000 per year of work for (federal) student loan reimbursement.

Despite the various obstacles, many teachers have found that teaching abroad greatly influenced and improved their teaching skills in a number of positive ways. Often, the opportunity to teach in another setting can improve one’s enthusiasm for teaching, not to mention the opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge and compare teaching methods with those of another education system.

This was a guest post by Jon Freeman. Jon writes about education, finance & saving money at

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