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Fellow Program

Serving as an English Language Fellow is 10 months of demanding work abroad that requires personal qualities such as flexibility, initiative, resourcefulness, and cultural adaptability. Living and working abroad can often mean adjusting to doing without many conveniences available in the U.S. Depending on where you are assigned for a project, you may experience unreliable utilities, long commutes, or face anti-American attitudes. While you will be challenged, both personally and professionally, these experiences can lead to further skills development and growth opportunities. Fellows also receive comprehensive support to help them successfully carry out their work.

English Language Fellows may experience other challenges, including:

      • Live with unreliable electricity, heat, or running water and other basic services on an unpredictable basis
      • Live in apartments or residences that are not accessible by elevator
      • Share housing with others
      • Store food without relying on refrigeration, which may mean shopping daily for groceries
      • Walk several miles to get to their host institution or stores
      • Pay high prices for goods that are common in the United States
      • Depend on unreliable public transportation
      • Contend with labor strikes (teachers, transport, etc.) or other civil unrest
      • Experience long waits and bureaucracy
      • Endure isolation, lack of communication with home (i.e., slow and unreliable internet, telephone service, and mail delivery)
      • Live in extremely hot or cold climates
      • Endure long periods of seasonal darkness
      • Encounter dietary differences
      • Face anti-American attitudes or hostility
      • Navigate uncertainty or ambiguity in expectations and logistics
      • Tolerate religious differences
      • Adapt to different gender roles and expectations
      • Experience intolerance based on sexual orientation or unmarried cohabitation
      • Learn to speak the native language to some degree

To ensure the well-being of every Fellow abroad, there are minimum standards for living accommodations. This includes:

      • bedroom (including a bed and bedding)
      • bathroom with toilet and bathing facilities
      • kitchen with stove, refrigerator, dishes, pots, and pans
      • heating, electricity, and a cooling system, i.e. a fan or air conditioner if available in the country

Support while abroad

The U.S. Department of State also has systems in place that enable Fellows to effectively carry out their work abroad. Fellows will receive a security briefing at the pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C. Upon arrival to the country of assignment, Fellows also participate in a post-arrival orientation with the U.S. Embassy staff to receive country-specific security information. Throughout the fellowship, the Public Affairs Section (PAS) and Regional English Language Officers (RELOs) posted at each embassy provide on-the-ground support and supervision to ensure the safety of all Fellows.

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