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Before contacting us about applying to become an English Language Assistant, please check out our list of frequently asked questions to see if you can find the information you're looking for. ©

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We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQS) designed for applicants for the English Language Assistants programme 2024-25.

When will applications close and is there any way you can extend the deadline?

Applications will close on 1 February 2024. We’re unable to make any exceptions to this and no further application submissions can be made after this point. 

We recommend that you submit your application early to avoid any last-minute difficulties.

Any references required that must be uploaded as part of the application form (e.g. for returning and former assistants or applicants to Switzerland) must be uploaded and submitted before the application deadline.

The deadline for the reference form to be submitted by your nominated referee after you have submitted your application is 15 February 2024. 

Full application details are available at How to apply to be an English Language Assistant 

Am I eligible for the Language Assistants programme?

To self-assess whether you’re eligible for the programme, please consult the eligibility criteria.

If you don’t meet all the general eligibility criteria and those for your chosen destination, unfortunately you will not be eligible for the Language Assistants programme. 

We review the criteria every year, so if you’re ineligible for one application round, this does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to apply in future years. 

Do I have to apply using the application portal?

Yes, all applications must be submitted via the online application portal. We cannot accept any applicants via CV or cover letter. 

On the application form you’ll be asked to provide your personal details, your preferences, complete a motivation and supporting statement, and provide a suitable referee for your application. 

What are you looking for in a successful application?

Applications are assessed initially using the following criteria: 

  • motivation 
  • adaptability 
  • target country cultural awareness 
  • knowledge and experience of UK contemporary culture
  • teaching experience 
  • expression and presentation

Moving abroad can be a challenging experience and we looking for resilient and independent individuals who are interested in cultural exchange.

For more information, please visit Am I eligible for the English Language Assistants programme?

Can my partner and I apply to the programme together?

Yes, we will try to accommodate this where possible. 

On the online application form for candidates, there is a section where you can let us know if you are planning to travel with a partner and that you would like your applications to be considered together. 

If this is completed by both applicants, during the allocation process we will endeavour to find placements for both partners as near to each other as possible. 

Due to the limited number of posts in certain towns and regions, unfortunately it cannot be guaranteed that you’ll be placed within the same town or city, but it will be considered during the allocation process.

Can I move abroad with my family?

We welcome applications from candidates with children. While we cannot guarantee that our applicants will get their first choice, we do aim to take into consideration the specific needs of our assistants when allocating. 

We would advise you to specify this on your application form so that due consideration can be given to you and your family’s needs when we are allocating you a placement. 

When you apply, you select preferences for the specific region(s) in your chosen country that you would like to be placed in. 

Unfortunately, we cannot provide assistance with matters like helping our assistants find schools for their children. Please also be aware that the salary paid to Language Assistants is only intended to support one person and may not be sufficient to cover dependents.

Can you accept alternative references other than the online form?

We can only accept references submitted online via the link in the automated email your referee receives once you have submitted your application. 

Please ask your referee to submit the reference via the online link provided.

We cannot accept references in other formats e.g. emailed in as a word or PDF document. Please check your referee can provide the reference before submitting your application.

If it is not possible for your referee to provide the reference via our online form, you’ll need to provide the details of an alternative referee as soon as possible by contacting the Language Assistants team via email.

The deadline for your referee to submit the online reference is Wednesday 15 February 2024.

Who can I use as a referee?

A nominated referee should be someone who has a good knowledge of the applicant and their suitability for the role, for example an academic tutor or employer. It should not be a family member or close friend. 

The referee should know the candidate well enough in an academic or professional capacity to complete questions regarding the candidate's ability and skills.

Can I change any details on my application once I have submitted it?

No, once you have submitted your application, you won’t be able to access your application or amend any details. It is crucial that you review your entire application and referee details carefully before you press submit. 

If you need to amend your referee details before the application closing date (1 February 2024), please email the Language Assistants team immediately and we will assist you with this. 

When will I receive an update on my application?

When you submit your online application, you’ll receive an automatic email to confirm that it has been submitted successfully. (If you don’t receive an email, please check your spam folder).

Once we have received the online reference from your chosen referee, you’ll then receive a further email update. Your application will then be sent for assessment, which may involve a video interview as detailed below. 

Our team will also send an acknowledgment email in March, providing you with further information on the process and any relevant updates. 

You’ll hear the outcome of the assessment of your application on or before Friday 3 May 2024.

For more specific information on the timescales involved please consult the project lifecycle.

Will I be able to check the online portal for updates after submission?

No, the online application portal is used for you to complete and submit your application only. 

All updates to your application after submission will be issued via email and we would therefore advise you to add to your safe senders list.

Will I be invited to take part in an interview for the role?

Candidates Hong Kong, Latin America, or Canada who pass the first stage of selection will be invited to a video interview. You’ll receive a link via email to complete your video interview. This will last approximately 20 minutes and will consist of a series of questions surrounding your motivations to be an assistant, your adaptability and relevant experience to the role. Where possible, we will try to meet any additional requirements for you to carry out the video interview as specified in the application form. 

Applicants not selected for a further assessment stage might be offered a transfer to another destination if their application is of a high enough standard and meets the relevant destination requirements.

Candidates for other destinations will not be required to attend an interview.

For more details, read our Destination-Specific Information.

Can I apply for a placement that is shorter than one academic year?

We do offer the following shorter placements in some destinations:

•In Argentina, all placements are six months long, running from April until end of August. These posts are reserved for undergraduates studying a dual-language degree. 

•In Germany, shorter posts are available for the first semester of the year, usually running from mid-September to 28 February. For the shorter period of appointment, it is not possible to leave the post early or finish before 28 February.

It is not possible to apply for any other destination for a shorter period than one academic year. 

Do I need a qualification to prove I have the required foreign language level?

No, you do not need a formal language qualification to evidence that you have the required foreign language level. Skills can be acquired through regular travel, private study or a course at a university language centre. 

We would recommend that you self-assess your language level against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. 

We will assess your language skills using the information provided on your application. It is in your own best interest to hold the required language level as you’ll be expected to communicate and complete the necessary administration procedures in the language of your destination.


I have additional requirements / a medical condition, should I declare this on the form?

As general guidelines for the application, if you have any additional support requirements (for example a medical condition), please provide as much information as possible in your application to enable us to find a post best suited to your needs. 

For certain destinations, some local authorities may request a medical certificate where this information may be disclosed.

I am a former / returning Language Assistant, what should the reference include?

The reference from your current / former host institution must comment on your performance as an assistant and state that the school would be happy for you to return (if applicable). The reference must be signed or stamped by the school and should ideally be on school letter headed paper. Please upload the reference as a PDF document in the returning and former assistants section of the application form.

For more information, please visit our returning and former assistants page.

Do I have to pay to take part in the programme?

There is no fee to apply or work as an English Language Assistant through the British Council and you will be paid a monthly salary or stipend. You will need to cover some personal costs including:

  • visa (if applicable) and related administrative costs
  • return flights to your destination
  • travel insurance
  • accommodation and utility bills
  • an International Child Protection Certificate costing approximately £90.  

Depending on where you wish to be a Language Assistant, there may be other costs such as vaccinations. Further information on the costs for each destination are provided on our destination-specific information webpages. 

I applied for the programme last year, am I able to carry over this application to this academic year?

No, due to the nature of the application process and portal, it is not possible to transfer a previous application to future year. All applicants must submit a new application form via the online portal each year they wish to apply. 


Where can I find out more about the destinations on offer?

You can see which destinations are on offer for the 2024-25 academic year, and how the programme works in each of these destinations, or our destination-specific information webpages. 


Published: 19/10/2023