Applications for the English Language Assistants programme for 2019-20 have now closed.

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

Please make sure you have read the relevant country page and English Language Assistant guidance notes (PDF 282KB) before applying.

Potential earlier deadline for university students

If you are a university student applying to be a language assistant as part of your year abroad, your university may set a separate internal deadline. The deadline may be considerably earlier than the British Council deadline. Please check with your university before applying. 

Laws and customs

We strongly advise you to research laws in your country of interest relating to matters that may be of personal relevance, such as outward displays of religion, and specifically in the education sector. Please note the British Council has no control over these laws. 

More details and sources of further information can be found on the country-specific pages, which you must read before applying.


Please read the following statements to understand the British Council's role in the English Language Assistants programme, and your responsibilities should you choose to apply.

The British Council's responsibilities

The British Council will not be your employer but will:

  • process your application and, if successful, pass your application to the relevant overseas partner agency
  • collaborate with our overseas partner agencies and endeavour to allocate you to one of your preferences/regions (if applicable in your country of choice) although this cannot always be guaranteed
  • communicate any decisions made by either the British Council or our overseas partner agency in relation to your application. Once you are in post we willl share a line of referral with you to outline how problems should be reported and managed in country
  • assess your International Child Protection Certificate in line with our stated criteria 
  • share information with you regarding the approximate hours and salary in each country (subject to minor changes each year)
  • provide guidance on how to prepare for your assistantship, including how to contact your school,  tips for lesson planning, advice on moving abroad etc.
  • provide any information which we might have to help you with applying for visas (if applicable). It is ultimately your responsibility to apply for and secure your visa 
  • provide advice on how to manage your personal safety and tips on insurance which you should take out in advance of your assistantship
  • send surveys to you during and after your assistantship to gather feedback which will help us to improve the programme each year.

Your responsibilities

It is your responsibility to:

  • ensure you are eligible for the programme before applying by reading our eligibility criteria carefully
  • research the laws and culture of the country and region to which you are applying and ensure you respect these
  • manage the relationship with your employer (your school or local authority)
  • fulfil your contractual obligations. The British Council cannot intervene in contractual negotiations on your behalf
  • read and follow any guidance or instructions which we send you
  • attend any pre-departure briefings or arrival inductions 
  • follow the Assistantship Code of Conduct (PDF 100KB) 
  • be responsible for your work/life balance and personal safety
  • research and meet all costs associated with your assistantship including travel, accommodation, visas, authentication of documents, insurance, criminal record checks, vaccinations, medical examinations or treatment, attendance at briefings or inductions and any setup costs in-country unless otherwise stated in our country notes or country pages of our website 
  • liaise with your Erasmus+ coordinator regarding any matters in relation to Erasmus+ funding
  • apply for visas / work permits where necessary and follow any advice which the British Council gives you in relation to this
  • find acceptable accommodation which suits your needs. In certain circumstances, you may be offered accommodation by your host institution and it will be your choice to accept or decline.

Completing the application form

Code of conduct

During the application process, you will be asked to confirm that you have read and understood the English Language Assistant code of conduct. Please download it below.


You will first be asked to register online. Use a permanent email address to register, because this cannot be changed once you have registered. We advise against using a university email address as you may not have regular access to this during your time abroad.


Please complete the start and end dates as this is our way of piecing together a candidate’s educational background. If you are not certain of the day your course began or ended, enter the first of the month. 

  • Under Higher Education, list university-level studies only.
  • Under Secondary/Further Education, list GCSE and A-level studies or equivalent.

Supporting statement

Remember that this is a job application for a competitive process. Your application may be read not only by the British Council but also by our overseas partner agency, local authorities and host schools abroad. 

Treat it as you would any job application and make sure that your answers are suitable for a job working with children. Use examples and evidence to convince us of your suitability for the programme.

If your application does not meet the required standard or the answers provided are too brief, it will not be accepted. 

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

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


You will be asked to provide the email address of someone who can act as a referee. 

  • If you are a current or recent student, your referee should be one of your tutors or a year-abroad coordinator.
  • If you graduated before 1 January 2018, your referee should be a recent employer.

Once you submit your application form, the system sends an email to your referee requesting the reference. You must allow time before the deadline for your referee to do this. If your reference is not completed in time, your application will not be taken forward.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your referee's details are correct and that they are happy to provide you with a reference before the deadline. You cannot change your referee’s details once you have submitted your application.

You should ensure that your referee is able to complete the reference request form that we provide. Many large corporations will only provide references that confirm your employment with them. We are unable to accept these.

Applicants studying at the Open University should not provide details of a referee from this institution. Due to the distance learning nature of their courses, tutors are unable to provide bespoke references.

Passport number

Provide your current passport number, ensuring it is valid until 6 months after the end of your assistantship. 

If your passport has expired or will expire during your assistantship, please provide your old/current passport number. Once your new passport arrives, let us know the number.

Changes and updates

Once you have pressed ‘submit’ you can no longer make any changes to your details online. 

Email us to let us know any changes to your passport number, address or contact details.

Current British Council language assistants

You can be a language assistant with the British Council up to four times.

If you are currently working as a language assistant through this programme or have done so in the past, and want to spend a further year in the same country, check the relevant country page to find out:

  • whether you are eligible to apply - this varies from country to country
  • how to complete the application form.

If you wish to apply to a different country, please complete the application form in the standard way.

Country pages

Back to the main English Language Assistants page.