A woman on a high swing
'You can teach English on paid six-month or year-long placements and experience another country.' Photo ©

Eloise May Clemmings, used with permission.

Applications for 2019-20 have now closed. 

 Applications for 2020-21 are likely to open in November 2019.

Teach English overseas on a paid six-month or one-year placement working as a language assistant. Experience life in another country, learn transferable skills and stand out in the job market. 

As an English language assistant, you will: 

  • strengthen your CV
  • improve your fluency in another language
  • gain skills in communication, presentation, time management, organisation, teamwork, working independently, creative thinking and problem-solving
  • immerse yourself in another culture
  • increase your cultural awareness
  • develop professional confidence.

Teaching time is limited to between 12 and 20 hours a week, giving you plenty of time to experience the country and pursue other interests. Many language assistants use their time abroad productively, from starting a small business to appearing on TV.

If you want to teach your native language of French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese or Irish, you can become a language assistant in the UK

Am I eligible?

For most destinations, you must hold an EU passport, have completed at least two years of university by the time you start your placement, and be a native-level speaker of English. See the full eligibility criteria.

Which countries can I go to?

You can teach in the following countries. Please make sure you follow the links and read the full country information carefully before making your decision.

What does the role involve?

A language assistant's role typically includes:  

  • supporting the teaching of English in an overseas school or university
  • planning activities and producing resources to help students improve their English
  • introducing UK contemporary culture through classroom and extra-curricular activities
  • supporting the running of international projects and activities.

You will not be required to:  

  • discipline pupils 
  • cover for illness
  • mark work regularly. 

How much will it cost?

You will need to pay for your own flights, travel insurance, visas and any other travel-related costs in most cases. On arrival, you will need to pay for your accommodation, food and transport.

You will receive a monthly salary for your work as a language assistant. Please see individual country pages for further information as the salary varies from country to country.

How many places are available?

The British Council places 2,500 assistants each year in 14 countries. We work closely with overseas partner agencies who are responsible for finding the host schools abroad. 

Will I be employed by the British Council?

No, the British Council will not be your employer. You will be employed by a school or local authority overseas, and your contractual relationship will be with that organisation.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications are assessed initially by the British Council using the following criteria:

  • motivation
  • adaptability
  • target country cultural awareness
  • teaching experience
  • expression and presentation.

If you have applied for China, Canada or countries in Latin America you may be invited to take part in a video interview.  

Interviews and tests will take place between February and April 2019. We will contact affected candidates individually.

When will I know the outcome of my application?

You will hear whether we have recommended you to our overseas partner agencies by 30 April 2019. 

The final decision rests with our overseas partners. You will know by 30 June 2019 whether you have a provisional offer of an assistantship. It's also possible that we will offer you a place on the waiting list. 

Your assistantship will not be confirmed until we have received confirmation of your International Child Protection Certificate. You will be informed how and when to apply for this.

To see the full process, download the English Language Assistant lifecycle (PDF, 800KB).

What do I do if I am accepted?

You will need to contact your school, find accommodation, arrange your travel and prepare for teaching. Find out how to prepare for your placement.

Can I reapply if I am not successful?

You cannot reapply for the English Language Assistant programme for the same academic year. You are welcome to apply again next year.

How to apply

Applications are currently closed. They will reopen in November 2019. 

Contact us

If you have questions about the English Language Assistants programme, please email us or call +44 (0)161 957 7755.

You can also write to our postal addresses in England and WalesNorthern Ireland or Scotland. Address your letter to 'Language Assistants Team'.

Back to Study and work outside the UK.