Personal items laid out on a bed, ready to be packed into a suitcase
Getting packed and ready to go ©

Jon Rawlinson under CC BY 2.0 (adapted from original)

Unlike many other teach abroad programmes, you do not have to pay a programme fee to work as a language assistant. With decades of experience running the programme, you will also receive support and guidance from the British Council and our partners overseas both before and during your placement. 

Before applying however, you should bear in mind that there are a number of costs that you will need to cover yourself. They include:

  • return flights to your destination
  • travel insurance
  • accommodation and utility bills (this will vary from place to place so we recommend you do some research beforehand)
  • an International Child Protection Certificate, which costs approximately £60.

For those candidates wishing to apply to China, accommodation is provided and paid for and your flights will also be reimbursed.

Additional costs

Depending on your location, there may be other costs that you will also need to consider. These are listed below.


It is your own responsibility to check current vaccination requirements for the country you are travelling to. You will be responsbile for paying for and arranging your own vaccinations. Please visit the Fit for Travel website for more information.

Medical examinations

A medical examination is required to be issued with a visa for China. These can be free or can sometimes cost upwards of £250 depending on your local GP, and the tests required by the local authorities in China. We recommend you carry out some research to ensure you get the best deal. You will then need another medical examination in China, but don't worry, the school will pay for this one.


You will need to cover the cost of your Visa for the following countries: Argentina, China, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.

Work permits and ID cards

In some countries, you will need to apply for a work permit or an ID card. There will occasionally be a small cost associated to this.

For Canada, a full medical examination is necessary as part of the work permit application procedure. Please note that you will have to pay between £200 and £300 for this. Unfortunately the British Council cannot cover this cost for you however there is currently no required fee for the permit itself. Assistants will also be provided with a step-by-step walkthrough of the online work permit process.

Pre-departure briefing

For applicants going outside of the EU and also to Italy, there will be a pre-departure briefing at a British Council office before you leave. You will need to cover the cost of travel to attend this. We always try and invite candidates to a location nearest to them.

Induction courses

When you arrive abroad, you will normally be invited to attend an induction course to help you settle in and prepare. The length and cost of these will vary from country to country. Please take a further look in the Where can I go section.

Planning ahead

As always, it’s a good idea to have a contingency for any unexpected costs. It is also important that you take enough money with you for your first and second months abroad as you may not receive any payment until the end of your first two months.

If you are planning on going to Europe, we recommend you budget approximately €1000-1500 for your first month. Please note that if allocated to Paris, Corsica or Outre-Mer you will require around €1700-€2200.  

For outside Europe, it’s a good idea to have around £1000 in savings before you go, and do some research before you arrive.

See also