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Do teaching companies offer a scholarship program?

Do teaching companies offer a scholarship program?

Entering the world of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is no doubt a fascinating idea. Getting to travel abroad while changing the lives of many with your work can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that will give you long-lasting memories – but it all comes at a price.

From flights to accommodation costs, not to mention the initial expenses to set up your new life abroad, financing your TEFL adventure might seem tricky or even out of reach. It is natural to start thinking about cutting costs, perhaps skipping that oh-so-expensive TEFL qualification.

After all, there are still countries out there where you can find an English teaching job without it, right? Well, yes and no. 

Before discovering how to get a TEFL scholarship (or grant) program, let’s see why you should not venture into TEFL without that all-important certificate.

Options

The number of countries where you can teach English without a suitable qualification is in constant decline. This will invariably narrow down your options.

Furthermore, you will find that the most reputable language schools, those that offer better conditions, hire only professionals with knowledge and experience – a TEFL course is the ideal starting point.

Confidence

If you’re new to English teaching, you might find the idea of standing in front of a class daunting. Many doubts might creep up in your mind about classroom management, lesson planning, engagement levels, and assessment.

A TEFL course will give you the tools to teach confidently and successfully from the very first day.

Knowledge

Can you tell your adjectives from your adverbs? Can you recommend effective reading strategies? Are you able to suggest listening techniques to improve communication?

Don’t worry if you are unsure about any of these (and more!) language areas – the technicalities of the English language can be confusing. After all, English is not considered an easy language to learn and it can be challenging to teach! Luckily, a well-designed course can lay the foundations for strong language knowledge.

Face value

Like for most roles, employers need you to be able to demonstrate your aptitude and skills, as well as a professional approach to the job. With a TEFL certificate, you will show that you are committed and willing to take the next step into teaching.

In other words, a good quality TEFL course by an accredited provider is needed to get off on the right foot in this industry full of opportunities. There are many providers and even more TEFL courses out there – how do you choose the best course for you?

Do your research about the best courses available and don’t be afraid to get in contact with several providers to compare them against each other. They’ll be happy to answer your questions.

When it comes to helping with financing your TEFL course, there are several options:

Government-sponsored programmes

These are the most prestigious (and competitive!) programmes available, as they offer a wide range of perks. Every year, countries such as South Korea, Japan, Spain, France, and Georgia hire teaching assistants to work alongside local teachers, often outside of urban areas.

Although each programme is different depending on the country, they are likely to offer a set number of teaching hours per week, a living wage, health insurance, housing, as well as airfare.

Scholarships/Grants

This kind of financial aid helps cover part of the cost of your certification, and can either be merit-based or need-based. Currently, there are many course providers that offer scholarships directly. It is recommended that you contact them to find out more to compare their offers before you submit an application. 

Volunteer scholarships

If you haven’t had any luck with the options mentioned above, or if they aren’t suitable for you, you could consider scholarships dedicated to volunteer teaching abroad.

Some of these are organised and run by governments, like Chile’s English Open Doors Program, for example, which has been operating since 2003 across the public school system.

US specific

If you are a US citizen, there are some scholarship/grant programmes especially for you. 

  • Fund for Teachers is an organisation that has invested over $33.5 million on professional development abroad for almost 9,000 existing teachers. To be a part of this fantastic opportunity, you will need to submit a grant proposal. If this is your first proposal-writing experience, don’t be alarmed: their website gives plenty of guidance and advice! If you are looking to get started, great news! – Fund for Teachers has extended this year’s grant application deadline to 24th February 2022.
  • Fulbright’s English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program is designed for US citizens or nationals who wish to teach English abroad  while experiencing the local culture to the fullest. The teaching placement can vary depending on the country of choice, and it ranges from kindergarten to university. Before submitting your grant proposal, check if you meet the eligibility requirements (e.g. holding a bachelor’s degree as a minimum). Also, keep in mind that you can only apply for one country and that proposals from first-time applicants are preferred. The application for the 2023-2024 competition will open in April 2022.
  • The English Language Fellow Program by the US Department of State focuses on improving English language teaching skills at universities or other academic institutions. With its 10-month long assignments that follow the US academic calendar, this program has been running for a long time: its 50th birthday was in 2019! As well as working with local teachers and students, Fellows serve as cultural ambassadors within their communities. Many will also have the opportunity to design and deliver seminars on specialistic areas of TEFL, such as English for Specific Purposes (ESP), English for Academic Purposes (ESP), methodology, curriculum and materials development. Please note: this program is suitable for experienced professionals with a graduate degree and relevant teaching experience. The application opens from early Autumn until November for the following Autumn.

In a nutshell

You’ve set your heart on working abroad as a TEFL teacher, but your finances are posing an obstacle –  it’s understandable. Don’t let money get in the way between you and your goals. Check out if any of the scholarship options work for you and submit that grant proposal!

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Do teaching companies offer a scholarship program?

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