If students at your university are looking for a first step in the world of work, we offer overseas placements to work as language assistants. A year as a language assistant gives students the opportunity to develop transferrable skills that will make their CV stand out from the crowd. 

Students must have completed at least two years of university, and be a native-level speaker of English. Teaching opportunities are available in 14 countries and students do not need a formal language qualification to become a Language Assistant.

Promoting the programme to your students

UK higher education institutions, especially study abroad co-ordinators, faculty members and career offices, can raise awareness of the programme and its benefits by:

  • downloading the Language Assistants promotional flyers at the bottom of this page and distributing them (please note that a separate version is available for those students wishing to teach in China). You can also request the flyers by filling out this form.
  • downloading the presentations and accompanying notes in the downloads section below, which will help present the programme to your students. One presentation is a short 5 – 10 minute presentation; the other is a more comprehensive presentation which includes further instructions and a script to help you deliver it.

Getting involved

In the sections below, you will find an outline of what universities are required to do in order for your students to take part in this porgramme.


The nominated students' referee will need to provide a university reference for each student. You will find a template of the online reference in the downloads section. There is also a template application in the downloads section which you and your students can refer to. This is for reference only – offline applications won’t be accepted.

Once the applicant has completed their section of the application, a notification will be sent to the nominated referee, who will be able to submit the reference online. Once the reference is submitted, the application is complete and will be sent to the British Council. Please see the FAQs document in the downloads section below for further information.

Tutors and coordinators can download the ‘key messages for tutors’ document, along with an accompanying presentation which contain all the information needed to better advise the students.

The application process for 2019-20 is all online unless there are medical reasons that might prevent them from doing so. Such a case should be discussed with the British Council before the candidate starts the application process. 

Final year students applying for an assistantship in China should apply to us directly and not go through their university.

If your students ask you for advice, please direct them to our English Language Assistants section which has all the information they need.


The British Council will be in regular contact with the named referee regarding the progress of the candidates’ applications.

When students have been accepted onto the programme, referees should help them to prepare for their placement.

All candidates will go through roughly the same application process and will receive very similar information. However, the fact that we run programmes with 14 countries worldwide means that the timing of, for example, video interviews, matching meetings, confirmation emails and pre-departure information packs varies from one country to another.

Some candidates may be asked to complete a video assessment. The assessment is designed to test, among other aspects, students' motivation, enthusiasm and adaptability. Students should be encouraged to prepare for these as much as possible.

When students return

Returning students have the chance to take part in the Language Assistants Ambassadors programme, to pass on guidance to future language assistants. An induction day for new Language Assistant Ambassadors is held each September to provide information on the programme and how to promote it in their university.

This is a great opportunity for students to pass on their experiences and could lead to future employment opportunities, so they should be encouraged to take part wherever possible.

We are always keen to receive feedback on the programme, and would be grateful if you could complete this short survey.

If you have any questions, you can contact us on languageassistants.uk@britishcouncil.org.