Frequently Asked Questions
We know you probably have questions, and we hear some of the same questions from a lot of our applicants, participants, and alumni. We’ve listed the most commonly asked questions below.
For current Fellows, we encourage you to review the Terms and Conditions of your Fellowship Agreement and the Fellow Policy Handbook (click here to download).
If your questions aren’t answered below, feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to talk to you.
Preparations for Fellowship
Dependents and Accompanying Persons
Safety and Security
To review the full list of eligibility requirements, please click here.
- a recognized TESOL certification with at least 120 course hours plus a supervised and observed practicum (for more information about this requirement, click here).
- a valid, full state teacher credential, certification, or license with a specialization or an endorsement in ESL or the equivalent.
To review a full list of eligibility requirements, please click here.
To view detailed application instructions, please click here.
To see the complete application vetting and selection process, click here.
Preparations for Fellowship
Whenever possible, the English Language Fellow Program will provide you with two one-way economy tickets, the outbound ticket first to your country of assignment and the return ticket from your country of assignment. These tickets will be issued as direct route, economy fares. You will be sent an e-ticket after the cooperating agency processes your travel schedule.
- health verification form and medical clearance;
- signed fellowship agreement, including terms and conditions;
- your completed travel request form;
- U.S. Embassy travel request form (provided to the English Language Fellow Program by the U.S. Embassy);
- first fellowship payment; and
- required visa(s) (if applicable).
Note that you must also have completed your pre-departure orientation.
Taxable income and benefits include, but are not limited to: stipend; living allowance (if applicable); settling-in costs (if applicable); shipping allowance; pre-departure allowance; DC pre-departure orientation allowance (if applicable); dependent’s allowance (if applicable); and mid-year professional development allowance (if applicable).
You should consult your tax advisor or the IRS for guidance. Note that the cooperating agency and the U.S. Department of State cannot provide any tax guidance. Filing and paying your taxes are solely your own responsibility.
For further information, see Terms and Conditions of the Fellowship Agreement.
ASPE does not satisfy the minimum essential health coverage under the “individual shared responsibility” requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). It is the Fellow’s responsibility to comply with the requirements of the PPACA. For more information and a list of exemptions, visit www.healthcare.gov.
It is strongly recommended, but not required, that you have or purchase comprehensive health insurance with international coverage during your fellowship. Not all PPACA-compliant health insurance policies provide international coverage.
When you have health care coverage other than ASPE (except Medicare or Medicaid), your other coverage is the primary provider. It is your responsibility to inform your primary provider about your ASPE plan, and likewise to inform ASPE about your primary provider. It is not the responsibility of any provider to advise another provider regarding your policy. It is your responsibility to know if you are covered in your country of assignment by any health care plans that you have.
Funds can be used for:
- Developing, preparing, and facilitating conferences, workshops, seminars, lectures, etc.;
- Traveling to attend or conduct academic programs in the country of assignment (or region, if applicable);
- Sponsoring local EFL teachers to attend or conduct academic programs in the country of assignment (or region, if applicable);
- Purchasing materials, including books, DVDs, magazines, etc.;
- Funding of the Fellow’s Internet, if needed;
- Establishing or enhancing resource centers, American Corners, teacher associations, etc.;
- Purchasing small equipment and office supplies, such as computer, printer, copier, memory storage, paper, toner, etc.;
- Funding of a cell phone and minutes for work-related purposes;
- Paying for photocopies; and
- Funding online courses for local ELT teachers.
When you finish your fellowship, you must leave behind all materials and equipment purchased with your PAA. You might leave these items with your host institution, an American Corner, a local library, or other resource center. You will need to submit an inventory of materials and equipment and a signed receipt as part of your final report.
Dependents and Accompanying Persons
Accompanying person(s) whose travel is arranged by the English Language Fellow Program must abide by the Fly America Act. In addition, if you are traveling alone with a minor child, you may require legal documentation from the other parent giving permission for the travel to occur. This is your responsibility to arrange.
Other work, whether it is paid or unpaid (including conference attendance) should not interfere with your fellowship assignment.
You may not accept funds from any U.S. government agency other than the U.S. Department of State for similar or related work performed during your fellowship agreement period.
Your U.S. Embassy may assign you other duties during an academic break, which may include activities such as: teacher training; curriculum, syllabi, or materials development; peer counseling; testing, evaluation, or assessment development; needs analysis; and project advising/coordinating.
There are no hard and fast rules for the kinds of duties you may be assigned, though they will generally be related to English language learning or public diplomacy. You are asked to actively cooperate with your U.S. Embassy when asked to take on related duties during an academic break.
- Program reports: These include the preliminary, mid-year, and final reports.
- Expense reports: These must be submitted in order for you to reconcile advances and/or to get
reimbursed for your approved expenses.
Please refer to the Fellow Policy Handbook and Fellow Agreement for detailed instructions and examples for submitting reports.
- access and download program administrative documents such as expense report templates, Highlight forms, pre-departure orientation instructions and information, etc. (these can always be found in the current Fellow Admin Group under “Documents”);
- share resources, ideas, best practices, photos, events, and experiences from fellowships around the world;
- find teaching and teacher training tools;
- connect with other Fellows, your assigned Program Coordinators, and U.S. Department of State Regional Program Officers through discussions and COP messaging;
- stay up-to-date on the latest events and resources available on the English Language Programs and American English websites;
- post job announcements and search for post-fellowship job opportunities; and
- stay connected and contribute to the program as alumni.
During your fellowship, feel free to use resources posted, share your own, and participate in discussions, blogs, and galleries. Regular announcements from the cooperating agency and the U.S. Department of State program staff will help you stay updated.
Also, as these will be your personal views and not those of the DOS during the time of your fellowship, please post the following disclaimer on your personal blog or website for added clarity:
“This website is not an official U.S. Department of State website. The views and information presented are the English Language Fellow’s own and do not represent the English Language Fellow Program or the U.S. Department of State.”
Safety and Security
If there is a Regional English Language Officer (RELO) at the U.S. Embassy, he/she should be your contact. Otherwise, you will report to the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) or the Cultural Affairs Officer (CAO). You must keep PAO/RELO and the cooperating agency closely informed as to any and all security concerns regarding your well-being.
You may be evacuated to a different city in your country of assignment. You may even be asked to finish your fellowship in this new city or another location that is safe. You may need to be evacuated to another country entirely. You might stay there until the evacuation order is lifted, until you are re-assigned to another country, or until the fellowship agreement is terminated. In some cases, you may be evacuated to your home base. Again, you might stay there until the evacuation order is lifted, until you are re-assigned to another country, or until the fellowship agreement is terminated. If possible, the English Language Fellow Program will provide you with an economy class airline ticket on the most direct route available.
Be aware that if you choose to remain in either your country of assignment or another country for more than 30 days after the end date of your fellowship agreement, you forfeit your return travel. After 30 days you are responsible for the logistics and payment of your return travel.
- First preference is given to applicants who have not yet participated in the program; and
- Former Fellows are considered only for remaining hard-to-fill assignments and/or special projects unless they have been out of the program for five years or more, in which case they are considered like new applicants.
- Have successfully completed their most recent fellowship;
- Have no outstanding debts in their country-of-assignments;
- Have no payments or reports due to the program;
- Update and resubmit their existing online application (applications will not be considered if information has not been updated to reflect their most recent experience);
- Request two references through the online application. One must be from the Fellow’s most recent PAS or RELO; the other must be from a current or recent supervisor.
- Was the Fellow able to adjust professionally and personally to the demands of the host institution and culture? Please elaborate.
- Did the Fellow’s performance meet or exceed host institution and U.S. Embassy expectations? Please elaborate.
- If the option of extending the Fellow’s tenure either at the present host institution or at another host institution in the country of assignment/region had been available, would it have been offered to the Fellow? Why or why not?