When your application to become an English language assistant has been accepted, the next step will be to prepare for your placement.

What happens next

If your application is approved by the British Council in the UK, it will be forwarded to our overseas partner agency in the relevant country. In all cases, our overseas partners make the final decision on appointments.

You will receive a detailed information pack during the summer, around four to six weeks before you depart. This information will be specific to the country you will be working in and will cover topics such as inductions and lesson ideas. Even before, there is plenty of information available on the country page for each destination that we would encourage you to read:

It is important to plan contact with your school, arranging insurance and visas, and looking after yourself when you are abroad. Click through the menu below for more.

You can also see our application Lifecycle and other documents in the downloads section below.

Contacting your school

The local education authority or the host institution itself will usually give you the name and location of your host institution. Our partners in country carry out the school allocation process, so we do not have this information until they send it out.

Once allocated, you should make immediate contact with your host institution to confirm you accept the post.

To prepare fully for your placement, you should find out the following from your placement institution:

  • the age range of the students
  • if the institution can help you with accommodation
  • what materials you should take
  • term dates
  • what clothes you should wear in school.

The British Council will give you the contact details of assistants who have worked in your region the previous year, who will be happy to give tips and advice about being an assistant and living in the region. If there are no predecessors, your institution may have had their own assistant from an English-speaking country and may be able to put you in touch with them.

Teacher training

Get yourself classroom-ready by registering for our TeachingEnglish training. Although these courses are optional, they will boost your confidence ahead of your placement and help you develop the knowledge and skills to thrive in the role.

If you are keen to complete a course but aren’t sure where to start, simply complete our self-assessment to receive a recommended individual course of study.

Whatever your needs and interests are, you will find free teaching resources and discounted training courses on the Language Assistants training site.

This year, we have two subsidised offers available exclusively for English Language Assistants:

  1. Starting Teaching (moderated course)
    This course is structured over seven weeks, taking you from an introduction to learning and through six more modules that will equip you with the knowledge and skills to set up your own classroom activities. You would also be working with other language assistants on course content, interacting in forums and meeting up in three webinars.

    Subsidised cost:£50 (regular price £150)

    Course dates: Choose from a start date of 17th July, 4th August or 4th September.

  2. Self-access training modules
    Taking training in self-access mode allows you to go at your own pace and dip in and out of teaching topics as you need them. There are three free modules, and many other modules on a wide range of teaching topics for you to choose from. More will be added throughout the year.

    Subsidised cost:£6 (regular price of modules: £12 each)

    Dates: Ongoing, register for modules as you need them. You will have continued access to these modules for two years from the moment you sign up. 

If you would like to take advantage of either one of these offers, you can find out more by browsing the modules and courses on https://language-assistants.english.britishcouncil.org.  

You can then pay and enrol on the training directly, on the same platform (you will be prompted to first set-up an account). If you have any technical difficulties, please select the Help tab at the bottom-right of the screen to raise a support ticket.


Education and lesson-planning

Before you go, try to find out some basic facts about the education system of your host country.

To help you with teaching, you can check our free TeachingEnglish tips and resources, on top of attending the subsidised courses above. The British Council office in the area you are placed may also have information and materials to help you.

Make sure that you:

  • prepare carefully and seriously for lessons
  • arrange to discuss your work regularly with your mentor teacher
  • arrive for class on time, even if the students are late
  • show an interest in your students’ progress
  • offer to make up time for classes missed.

If you want to enrol on a language course at a local university, you might have to produce a copy of your birth certificate, your school exam or degree certificates and written proof of your appointment. You should take several photocopies of each.


You are responsible for your own travel costs to and from the country where you will be working.

If you are appointed to China or Latin America, you will usually be advised to travel on specific days so as to co-ordinate your arrival with other assistants and meet them at the airport.

If you are appointed to Latin America, you should buy a return flight with a flexible return date (or the option to change the return date), as this is often cheaper than buying two single tickets.

If you are appointed to China, you should buy a return ticket and your school will reimburse your flights upon completion of the contract.

We also advise that you visit Know Before You Go, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's continuous consular awareness campaign. It encourages British nationals to be better prepared for their overseas trips with a view to avoiding common travelling traumas, risks and dangers. Assistants going to countries outside Europe in particular should ensure they read this information.


You must ensure that you have personal accident and travel insurance for the duration of your appointment, including travel to and from the UK. The insurance policy you purchase must cover emergency repatriation. Please see the 'advice on personal accident/travel insurance' document in the downloads section below for guidance.  

If you are appointed to any EU country, you should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will cover you for emergency healthcare in the EU. The EHIC is free of charge.

All language assistants will receive country-specific information in their summer information pack regarding insurance before they leave . You can also read further information and last year's notes on the country pages in the list above.

If you are eligible for Erasmus+

If you are a UK English language assistant eligible for Erasmus+ status, you can continue to apply to be an Erasmus+ student, a status which allows you academic recognition and a substantial fee waiver.

If your applications for both the English Language Assistants programme and the Erasmus+ scheme are successful, you can expect to receive an Erasmus+ grant for the full duration of your 2018-19 placement. The UK government will underwrite Erasmus+ agreements signed while the UK is still an EU member state, even if related payments continue beyond the point of the UK’s EU exit date.

Finding accommodation

If you have been appointed to Ecuador or China, accommodation is usually provided. For all other countries, it is your responsibility to find your own accommodation.

The information pack you will receive from us around four to six weeks before you travel will include contact details of assistants who were posted to your region last year. They may be able to give you advice about accommodation.

It may also be helpful to ask your school if they can help or if someone can let you stay with them temporarily. Staff and student notice boards, local newspapers and tourist offices are potential sources of information on accommodation.

When searching for accommodation, do not go on viewings alone or advertise your phone number in public places.

If you can't find something immediately, don't panic. The time it takes to find a suitable place to live varies from place to place.

Settling in

The initial settling-in period can be difficult. You may not be living in the same place as other assistants, and you cannot always depend on teaching staff in your school for a social life, so you need to be resourceful. Whatever your situation, you will not be the only one.

Attending local classes and clubs and emailing past and present assistants in your area can help you settle in. If this does not work and you are still unhappy, talk to your mentor or another teacher in the school. They may have some useful advice or contacts.

Reporting problems

If problems occur, you should contact the below people in this order to find a solution: 

  • Your mentor teacher
  • Head of department or senior member of staff
  • Representative at local education authority (if relevant)
  • Our partner organisation in the country where you are working
  • The British Council in the UK.

You should attempt to solve problems locally before calling your UK university or the British Council in the UK.

Your mentor teacher should also be able to make you aware of cultural differences to help you avoid any misunderstandings. Please see the English Language Assistant Line of Referral document below.

Back to main English Language Asisstants page.