Am I eligible?

Are you resilient enough for Latin America? Could you adapt to life in China? How about dealing with the snowy, beautiful winters of Quebec? There are special qualities required by Language Assistants that vary country by country, as well as specific eligibility criteria you will need to meet.

Are there any language requirements?

You do not need a formal language qualification to become a Language Assistant. All you need are language skills equivalent to a B1 on the European Framework (please see document below). This is equivalent to the first year of A level/Higher. The requirements for Spain are slightly lower at A2 level on the European Framework. If you are considering applying for China, you do not need any previous language skills at all.

These skills can be acquired through regular travel, private study or through a formal or informal university course. If we cannot see evidence in your application of how you acquired your language skills, you may be asked to participate in a short language test, conducted by telephone. You will be advised of this in advance and the test should only take a few minutes, consisting of just one or two short questions in your target language.

Am I eligible?

Native-level English 

To become a Language Assistant, you must be a native-level English speaker. We assess your English skills by reviewing your written application and your university reference.

Passport

You must hold a UK, Irish or other European Union (EU) passport. If you have a non-EU passport then unfortunately you are not eligible.

Secondary school education

To become a Language Assistant, you should have completed the majority of your secondary school education in the UK. This is because part of your role will be to share your knowledge of UK culture (including the different UK education systems) to the students you will be working with.

There are two exceptions to this:

  1. If you have an Irish passport and completed your secondary school education in the Republic of Ireland, you are eligible to apply if you are currently studying at a UK university
  2. If you have a UK or Irish passport but completed your secondary education overseas, you are eligible to apply. However, we may contact you at a later stage to assess your knowledge of UK culture if this is not evident from your application.

If you have an EU passport (which is not UK or Irish) and completed your secondary school education outside of the UK then unfortunately you are not eligible for the Language Assistants programme.

Non-UK / Irish passport holders who were educated in a British international school outside of the UK are also not eligible.

University

You must have passed two years of university-level education by the time you start your assistantship. If this was completed outside of the UK, we may contact you at a later stage to assess your knowledge of UK culture if this is not evident from your application.

Preferences

You must be flexible with regards to the location of your post and be willing to accept a post wherever you are allocated.

For most countries you will be able to select three area preferences, as well as preferences relating to the size of town you’d like to work in and the age group you’d like to teach. However, please note that the number of posts in each area are strictly limited and as such your preferences cannot be guaranteed. You are encouraged to look at the preferences available for your country of application on the Where can I go? page and research the areas available thoroughly before applying.

If you have any additional support requirements (for example, disabilities, medical conditions or dependent children) please provide as much information as possible in your application to enable us to find a post best suited to your needs. We may contact you during the application process to discuss your specific needs and how we can accommodate them.

Time

You will need to be available to complete the whole period of appointment for the country to which you apply. Please see the relevant section of the Where can I go? page of our website for the dates relating to your country of application.

Background check

You will need to apply for an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC)* (more details below). The cost of applying for an ICPC will be approximately £60 and you should not apply for an ICPC until told to do so.

Please be advised that in line with the British Council’s Child Protection Policy and our approach to safeguarding children, if you currently have any impending prosecutions or outstanding criminal proceedings for the offences outlined below or have ever been convicted of or received a caution, reprimand or warning for a sexual or violence related offence or any offence involving any type of harm (physical, emotional or sexual abuse) to a child or children, your application will not be accepted.

Please note that after submission of your application form if you commit a criminal offence or are the subject of any criminal proceedings you must inform the British Council in writing as soon as possible as this could affect your application and may lead to your application being withdrawn if this is not disclosed.

TEFL

You do not need a Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification to be able to apply.

Consecutive years

Please note, you can only be an English Language Assistant through the British Council four separate times, regardless of whether the posts were in the same or different countries. Both consecutive and non-consecutive years will be counted. Please note that our partner organisations abroad will have their own eligibility criteria so please check with us before applying if you would be able to stay for a consecutive year in that country.

Further information about each country

Argentina

To be a Language Assistant in Argentina you must:

  • have B1 level Spanish
  • be available to work between March and September
  • hold a UK passport or EU passport but have been educated in the UK. 

joint honours students

Priority will be given to joint honours students studying Spanish. Please state clearly in your application if you are undertaking a compulsory year abroad.

Austria

To be a Language Assistant in Austria, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between 1 October and 31 May
  • hold a UK or EU passport.

Joint honours students

There are a limited number of posts available for the first and second semesters of the year. Placements for the first semester start in the last week of September and end in early to mid February. Placements for the second semester start in mid to late February and end in late May. 

Applicants interested in these must indicate their preference on the application form stating if they are applying for a shorter post or the full period of appointment.

Belgium

To be a Language Assistant in Belgium, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between 1 October and 31 May
  • hold a UK or EU passport

Canada

To be a Language Assistant in Canada, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between 1 September and 31 May
  • hold a UK or Irish passport.

Chile

To be a Language Assistant in Chile, you must:

  • have B1 level Spanish
  • be available to work between the end of July/August until late June
  • hold a UK passport or EU passport but have been educated in the UK. 

China

To be a Language Assistant in China, you must:

  • be aged 55 or under
  • have successfully graduated by the time you start your assistantship
  • be able to produce your graduation certificate by July 15
  • be free between mid August and 30 June (approximately)
  • hold a UK passport or a UK permanent residence document or have gained your bachelor's degree from a UK university.

Colombia

To be a Language Assistant in Colombia, you must:

  • have B1 level Spanish
  • be available to work between July and May
  • hold a UK passport or EU passport but have been educated in the UK (you cannot apply if you hold dual nationality with Colombia)
  • be aged over 20 by the time placements commence
  • be studying/have studied languages, literature or Latin American studies at university level
  • have some teaching experience. 

Ecuador

To be a Language Assistant in Ecuador, you must:

  • have B1 level Spanish
  • Hold a UK or EU passport
  • be available to work between October and August
  • be able to share accommodation (and potentially a room) with the other two assistants working at the university
  • meet all other eligibility criteria of the programme

France

To be a Language Assistant in France, you must:

  • have B1 level French
  • hold a UK or EU passport
  • be available to work between 1 October and 30 April
  • be flexible with regards to the location of your post
  • be aged 35 or under, at the time of starting your post
  • meet all other eligibility criteria of the programme

Germany

To be a Language Assistant in Germany, you must:

  • have B1 level German
  • hold a UK or EU passport
  • be available to work between late August and 31 May
  • be flexible with regards to the location of your post
  • be aged 30 or under, at the time of starting your post
  • meet all other eligibility criteria of the programme

Joint honours students

There are a limited number of shorter posts available, which run from 1 September to 28 February. Applicants interested in these posts must indicate their preference on the application form by stating whether they are applying for a shorter post or the full period of appointment. Candidates studying two languages going on their compulsory year abroad will be given priority for shorter posts, but graduates are welcome to apply.

Italy

To be a Language Assistant in Italy, you must:

  • Have B1 level Italian
  • hold a UK or Irish passport
  • be available to work between 1 October and 31 May
  • be flexible with regards to the location of your post
  • be aged 30 or under, at the time of starting your post
  • meet all other eligibility criteria of the programme

Mexico

To be a Language Assistant in Mexico, you must:

  • have B1 level Spanish
  • Hold a UK or EU passport
  • be available to work between August and June
  • be flexible with regards to the location of your post
  • be aged 30 or under, at the time of starting your post
  • meet all other eligibility criteria of the programme

Spain

To be a Language Assistant in Spain, you must:

  • have A2 level Spanish
  • have a UK or EU passport
  • be available to work between 1 October and 31 May (or until 30 June for some placements in Madrid)
  • be flexible with regards to the location of your post
  • be aged 60 or under, at the time of starting your post
  • meet all other eligibility criteria of the programme

Assistants who are currently working in Spain, but were recruited independently (i.e. not through the British Council), are not eligible to apply for the 2017-18 programme unless they are willing to be flexible regarding their allocation. Those who were recruited independently and wish to stay at the same school should speak to their school regarding the renewal of their contract.

Switzerland

To be a Language Assistant in Switzerland, you must:

  • Have B1 level French or German
  • hold a UK or EU passport
  • be available to work between mid August/early September to late June/early July.
  • be aged between 21 and 30, by the time you take up your post
  • meet all other eligibility criteria of the programme