Support for universities

The role of university co-ordinator is extremely important in helping students become Language Assistants.

Among other things, you will help raise awareness of the opportunities available and support the application process. 

This will enable students to gain all the benefits of a year working abroad, including improved language skills, heightened cultural awareness and increased confidence.

Below you will find: an outline of the application process and what to expect afterwards.


You can raise awareness of the programme and the benefits it brings by distributing the Language Assistants flyer (available in both English and Welsh) to students. A separate version is also available in English and Welsh for those students wishing to teach in China. 

We have prepared a presentation which you can download in the section further below and use to talk to your students about the programme. Feel free to use the Accompanying notes on ELA recruitment to help you deliver the presentation.

For further information please contact


The application process for 2016/17 is all online.  All applicants are expected to apply 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 website which has all the information they need.

You (or another nominated person in the institution) will need to provide a university reference for each student.  Once the applicant has completed their section of the application, a notification will be sent to the nominated referee, to enable you to complete your reference online.  Once you submit your reference, the application is complete and will be sent to the British Council.  You do not need to submit hard copies. Please see the FAQs document in the downloads section below for further information.


The role of the university coordinator continues after the application deadline. The British Council will be in regular contact with regard to the progress of your candidates’ applications, including reminders about missing documents or information.

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, assessment days, allocation meetings, confirmation letters and pre-departure information packs varies from one country to another.

Some candidates may be asked to attend an assessment day. Typically these will consist of group-based activities in the morning, then an individual interview in the afternoon. The day is designed to test, among other aspects, students' presentation skills, enthusiasm and adaptability. Students should be encouraged to prepare for these as much as possible.

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

If you have any questions, you can contact us.


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 other roles they may be interested in within the British Council.

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.