Frequently Asked QuestionsWe 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. Eligibility Application Application References Selection Fellowship Acceptance Pre-Departure Orientation Preparations for Fellowship Fellowship Travel Fellowship Benefits Dependents and Accompanying Persons On Assignment Safety and Security Post-Fellowship Return-to-Program Policy
EligibilityTo review the full list of eligibility requirements, please click here.
Do Fellows have to be U.S. citizens?
Yes. The English Language Fellow Program is a federally funded cultural exchange program designed to improve English teaching capacity around the world and contribute to mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people abroad. Non-U.S. citizens will NOT be considered for fellowships.
Can I have dual citizenship?
Yes, you may have dual citizenship as long as the United States is one of the countries of citizenship.
Are applicants required to have a master's degree in TEFL/TESL?
A graduate level degree is required to apply for the English Language Fellow Program. To meet the minimum eligibility requirements, your qualifying graduate level degree would ideally be in TESOL or a field related to English language teaching. If your graduate level degree is in an unrelated field, you may still apply if you also have one of the following additional credentials:
- 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.
I will not receive my degree by June 1 or the end of my institution's spring semester, can I still apply?
Your qualifying degree must be conferred by the end of the spring semester in order to be considered for regular cycle projects (from September to June). If your qualifying degree will not be conferred until the end of the summer semester, you will only be considered for a limited number of off-cycle projects.
Why do you require a minimum of two years TESOL experience?
On assignment, Fellows are expected to provide classroom instruction with little to no supervision, adapt or develop their own syllabus and materials, and lead cultural programming or other extracurricular activities. Many projects include TEFL training for pre- and/or in-service teachers. For that reason, we are looking for candidates with TESOL experience that includes skills such as classroom management, instructional technology, syllabus evaluation/design/development, materials and/or resource development.
Why is it necessary that Fellows be flexible and adaptable?
Serving as an English Language Fellow involves demanding work abroad, often in challenging and unpredictable situations. Fellows are successful when they can adjust to a different culture and level of material comfort as well as ever-changing social and political climates. Oftentimes, project descriptions that are available during the selection period are subject to change and may differ from the current needs of the institution once the Fellow arrives. That is why competitive Fellow applications provide evidence of personal qualities including: flexibility, cultural adaptability, resourcefulness, and the desire and ability to travel abroad.
Do you have an age limit?
There is no age limit for applicants, but a few countries may have age restrictions in order to obtain a visa. For example, China typically doesn't grant visas for people over 60, but this is a rare case. The average age of our participants is approximately 40 years old, but the actual age range is anywhere from 24 to 80.
Does the English Language Fellow Program require or provide any type of foreign language training?
No. While additional language skills are not required, they can be helpful on projects in certain regions. When completing the online application, please let us know what other languages you speak and to what degree. The English Language Fellow Program also does not provide any foreign language training. It is your responsibility to learn the country of assignment’s language(s), if you so choose.
ApplicationTo view detailed application instructions, please click here.
When is the deadline to apply?
The application for the Fellow Program opens in early fall of the year prior to the fellowship start date. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. However, applications submitted by the November 30 priority deadline have the best chance of being considered for all available projects. If you apply by the priority deadline and are accepted into the applicant pool, you will be among the first applicants to enter the project matching phase starting mid-January. We will continue to accept applications after the priority deadline, but those applicants will only be considered for projects that remain available at the time of entering the available applicant pool.
How soon after applying will I hear about my application status?
Review of your application begins only after required references are received. Once the review begins, please allow up to three weeks for it to be conducted. The result of the review will be sent to you by email.
When will I hear if I've been selected for a fellowship?
We can’t anticipate if or when you might be contacted about a potential project match. Our goal is to have the majority of projects filled by April.
Can applicants choose to apply to a specific country, region, or project?
When completing the online application, you can express your regional and/or project preferences. However, you should be aware that you will only be matched to projects if there is a professional fit between your qualifications (skillset and experience) and the needs of the project. Projects are developed by U.S. Embassies to specifically address local needs, thus the requirements and duties for each project will vary. While we do take regional preferences into consideration, priority is given to applicants who demonstrate flexibility. Applicants who are willing to go anywhere in the world are much more likely to be matched to a project than those who have specific location preferences.
I started or submitted an application for a previous cycle. Can I access my information and resubmit my application?
If you have previously started or submitted an application through the online system, your information has been saved and you may access it to reapply to the program. You simply need to log back into your application, update it, and hit submit. Please note that revisions are made to the application every year and we encourage you to review all of the application fields before resubmitting.
My institution doesn't provide electronic transcripts. How do I upload my transcript?
You may scan a copy of a paper transcript to PDF format and upload it to the online application.
I haven't graduated from my master's program yet. Do I still have to submit my graduate transcript?
Yes. We require a scanned copy of your current transcript (showing all courses you have completed and are enrolled in at the time you submit your application). All selected Fellows receiving a qualifying degree after submitting their application will need to provide evidence of degree conferral before a Fellowship agreement can be processed.
Do I need to submit all of my transcripts?
You should submit your most relevant graduate transcripts. Official transcripts are not required; electronic unofficial transcripts from your university are allowed. If your bachelor’s degree or certificate is in TESL or applied linguistics, you may submit that transcript as well.
Do I need to submit any documentation regarding my TESOL certificate or K-12 license/endorsement?
Yes. Certificates should show course and practicum hours. K-12 license/endorsement documentation should be for your most up-to-date credential. Provide as much information about your credentials as possible to assist us in verifying them.
If I applied before to the program, and would like to use the same references, will they be contacted again?
Yes. If you are using references that have previously submitted a reference questionnaire for your application, they will need to re-submit their responses. Once your application is submitted, they will be automatically contacted by email. They will then be given the option to either resubmit their previous responses without any changes or to edit/update their responses and then resubmit.
How and when will my references be contacted?
Once you submit an online application, an automated email is sent to your references with information on how to complete the reference request form. References click a link in the email that takes them to an online site where they complete a short questionnaire. References do not need to complete the questionnaire in one sitting and may return as many times as needed prior to submitting the questionnaire. You may also return to the online application to verify that a letter of recommendation was submitted or to send a reminder to your references. Your application is not considered complete and we will not begin the application review process until we have received the required reference questionnaires.
Can I use letters of reference from another job?
The English Language Fellow Program requires references to complete an online questionnaire form. References do not have the ability to upload or copy and paste a previously written letter into the online system. References must respond to the questionnaire themselves and should be able to speak about your ability to succeed in the Fellow program by providing examples of your work ethic, initiative, leadership skills, resourcefulness, flexibility, judgment, classroom management skills, and overall strengths and weaknesses. Reference responses are confidential.
Do my references have to submit answers to the questionnaire before November 30?
Once your application is submitted, a form is generated and automatically sent out to your listed references. We cannot begin reviewing your application until the two required reference questionnaires are completed. If we receive your references within three weeks of the priority deadline, your application submission is considered complete and will be reviewed before we begin project matching in January. Any delay in your references could delay your application review and potential entrance into the applicant pool. The later you enter the applicant pool, the more likely it is that projects will have already been filled. It is in your best interest to encourage your references to submit their questionnaires as soon as possible.
I have submitted my application. What are the next steps?
After we receive your application and the required references have been submitted, your application is reviewed, first to determine eligibility and then to identify evidence of the experience and qualities the program looks for in Fellow candidates. Qualified applicants will be contacted for an interview. Following the interview, your application undergoes a final review. You will be notified by email about whether you have been added to the pool of available applicants. Being placed in the applicant pool does not guarantee that you will be matched to or selected for an assignment. Starting in mid-January, we begin matching applicants from the available pool to open projects. Matched applications are sent to U.S. Embassies who make the final selection. To see the complete application vetting and selection process, click here.
How does the selection process work?
The cooperating agency, under the direction of the Office of English Language Programs, reviews the pool of available applicants to identify candidates for specific U.S. Embassy sponsored projects. Applicants are matched based on the needs of projects. Due to the competitive nature of the English Language Fellow Program, candidates should not expect or request to be placed on a roster.
Will I be placed on multiple rosters?
Matched applicants are placed on one roster at a time. If you are not selected by a U.S. Embassy, your application will be put back into the pool of available applicants for consideration for other projects if available.
If selected, can I defer my acceptance?
Fellowships cannot be deferred to the next cycle. If your availability changes, you should withdraw your application. We will save your application in the online system in case you would like to reapply to future cycles.
I have accepted a fellowship. What are the next steps?
After accepting your fellowship, you will receive an official acceptance letter package via email from the cooperating agency. The acceptance package email will include an acceptance letter as well as several other documents you will be required to complete and return. You are also encouraged to reach out to your main point of contact at the U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment and begin researching information on visas in your country of assignment. Fellowship acceptance offers are considered conditional until you are medically cleared by a U.S. Department of State appointed medical examiner. You must submit a completed health verification form (HVF) within 10 business days of accepting the fellowship offer. The HVF should be completed by a licensed medical doctor and returned to the cooperating agency. Selected applicants who are not medically cleared will be notified, and the fellowship offer will be rescinded.
When will I receive my contract?
Fellows receive a fellowship agreement, not a contract. The agreement is revised and updated each year and will be sent to you after your HVF has been medically cleared and ahead of your departure to the country of assignment. Once received, you must print, sign, and return the agreement within 10 business days either by mail, email, or fax.
I have submitted all the required fellowship paperwork. What should I do next?
Once the English Language Fellow Program has received all the required paperwork, you will be notified when your first payment has been deposited. Fellows will also receive updates regarding travel, the pre-departure orientation, and general program updates. You are required to get in touch with the U.S. Embassy main point of contact to learn more about visa requirements, the fellowship project responsibilities, and to be put in touch with the host institution. Fellows should also research information on their country of assignment to learn more about the language, culture, history, and politics.
How do I get in touch with my host institution?
You may request contact information for your host institution counterpart from your main point of contact at the U.S. Embassy. The cooperating agency does not have contact information for any of the host institutions.
Am I required to attend the pre-departure orientation?
The pre-departure orientation (PDO) in Washington, DC, is mandatory for all newly selected Fellows and former Fellows who have not attended an in-person orientation in the past three years. The PDO takes place each August in Washington, DC. The dates of the PDO are provided when you receive your acceptance package.
Does the program cover costs associated with the pre-departure orientation?
The English Language Fellow Program will cover the following costs associated with the mandatory pre-departure orientation: economy class round-trip airline or train ticket, hotel, and some meals. You will receive an allowance to cover local ground transportation, baggage fees, and remaining meals.
Will I have time while in Washington, DC, to obtain a visa for my country of assignment?
The agenda for the PDO is very full, but if you need to visit the embassy of your country of assignment regarding visa needs, there may be time on the morning of the first day of the PDO, usually a Monday, and on the day of your departure, usually a Friday. If you plan to visit the embassy on your departure day, be sure to inform the cooperating agency so your itinerary can be arranged accordingly. In most cases, you should make visa arrangements prior to the PDO. The U.S. Embassy in charge of your project will give you guidance regarding this.
Can friends or family accompany me to the pre-departure orientation?
Each Fellow will be provided with their own hotel room during the orientation. You may have family or friends stay with you during this time. All costs related to people accompanying you must be covered by you and will not be covered by the English Language Fellow Program. Only Fellows will be allowed to attend the orientation sessions and events.
Preparations for Fellowship
What vaccinations do Fellows need?
Prior to departure, you should contact a travel clinic, the U.S. Embassy for your country of placement, or visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for health information for specific destinations and vaccination recommendations for travelers of all ages. The English Language Fellow Program cannot provide vaccination recommendations.
Do Fellows need a visa?
Visa requirements depend on the country of assignment. If a visa is required, you are responsible for making the visa arrangements prior to departure. U.S. Embassy staff in your country of assignment will be of assistance, but the responsibility to obtain required visa(s) lies with you.
Who should I contact with questions related to my fellowship project and host country?
The name(s) of your main point of contact at the U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment is included in the acceptance letter package email that you will receive upon accepting the fellowship position. You are required to contact this person as soon as possible to request more information on visas, the fellowship responsibilities, contact information for your counterpart at the host institution, and general information on the country of assignment. The cooperating agency cannot and does not provide information on these topics.
Do I need to locate housing in my host country?
No. However, housing is handled differently depending on each fellowship. Your host institution is responsible for providing housing for you or helping you secure housing. The U.S. Embassy may provide assistance. If you arrive and there are various options for housing, you may be given interim housing until more permanent housing can be arranged. There may be exceptions to this and these are managed on a case-by-case basis.
How are travel arrangements handled?
The cooperating agency coordinates your travel for you. Your airline tickets are arranged by a contracted travel agency, which issues your tickets. If you book your travel directly, you will not be reimbursed for the costs. 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.
May I make special requests for my international flight to/from my fellowship location?
All flights issued by the English Language Fellow Program must be booked in accordance with the Fly America Act, which requires flights to be issued on U.S. carriers when possible. The Program does allow Fellows to make requests, which you should indicate on your travel form, but we will only honor requests if they can be done so within budget and in accordance with the Fly America Act. The Program is only obligated to provide you with a direct route, economy class ticket on U.S. airlines to your country of assignment and back.
What do I need to do before my outbound airline ticket is issued?
You must ensure certain documents and payments are in place before your outbound airline ticket is issued. Use your Fellow checklist to be sure you’re on track, in particular regarding:
- 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).
Can my pet travel with me?
Yes, but it is not recommended. Neither the English Language Fellow Program nor the travel agency can help you to arrange a pet’s transport. Your travel itinerary cannot be changed to coordinate with your pet’s. If the schedule that is coordinated for you is not acceptable due to your pet’s travel, you will be responsible for planning, organizing, and paying for your own ticket, as well as that of your pet, to your assignment.
How and when will my return-trip airline ticket be arranged?
The English Language Fellow Program books return travel no earlier than 1-2 months in advance due to the variable nature of living and working abroad. You must fill out a return travel request form before a return airline ticket can be issued. This form is available on the Community of Practice (COP). The form must be submitted at least 30 days before the end date of your fellowship agreement. You must leave your country of assignment within 30 days of the end date of your fellowship agreement period or you will forfeit your return ticket.
When will I receive my first payment?
To process a Fellow payment, the English Language Fellow Program must receive a copy of your voided check for a U.S. based bank account. In addition, you must complete your W9 and Automatic Clearing House (ACH) payment information through an on-line system that will set you up as a supplier with the cooperating agency. The cooperating agency will then process your first fellowship payment according to the payment schedule outlined in your Fellowship Agreement.
Do I have to have a U.S. bank account and checks?
Yes. The cooperating agency can only deposit money into U.S. bank accounts. Direct deposits cannot be made into foreign accounts. You will need to provide a copy of a voided check to verify your bank account and routing number. If you do not have a U.S. bank account, or if you have a bank account but do not have checks, you will need to open an account and/or request checks from your bank. Due to cooperating agency’s financial policies, no exceptions will be made.
Do Fellows pay taxes?
Yes. For taxation purposes, you are considered a supplier or independent contractor. You are not employed by the U.S. government or the cooperating agency. As such, you are providing a fee-for-service while on assignment. As these fees are taxable, your payments will be reported both to you and to the IRS on Form 1099 in Box 7. These fees are called “non-employee compensation” and they are considered taxable income. 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.
Do Fellows receive health insurance?
The English Language Fellow Program provides a health benefit plan (Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges/ASPE) for the duration of the fellowship. ASPE does not provide comprehensive insurance coverage, and it does not cover pre-existing conditions or personal travel outside of the Fellow’s country of assignment. ASPE is intended only to serve as supplemental coverage while in your country of assignment. 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.
What is program activities allowance (PAA) and how can I use it?
The purpose of the PAA is to enhance the work you do during your fellowship. All program activities expenditures must be approved by the U.S. Embassy in the country of your assignment, and Fellows must report the expenditures made with this allowance, including original receipts. Any unused program activities allowance funds must be returned to the program in form of a check payable to the cooperating agency. Typically Fellows will receive $2,200 for their PAA. 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.
Dependents and Accompanying Persons
Can I bring someone with me?
Yes, an accompanying person or dependent may join you for all or part of the fellowship period (10 months or less) unless otherwise stated in the project description. Please make sure to include information about your plans to travel with a dependent or accompanying person in your application. This information may help us facilitate a successful match. Your answers to these questions will not preclude you from being considered for the English Language Fellow Program, however you may not be considered for certain projects due to special country requirements or restrictions.
What type of support does the English Language Fellow Program offer accompanying persons?
The U.S. Department of State awards one-person fellowship agreements and does not cover any expenses for dependents or accompanying persons, including travel, insurance, visa, medical expenses, living, and schooling. The English Language Fellow Program does not offer any logistical support or employment opportunities for dependents or accompanying persons. An accompanying person or dependent is the sole responsibility of the Fellow. Fellows may request a monthly allowance of $500 for a qualifying dependent. A dependent is defined in this context as a spouse, domestic partner, or relative (child, parent, or sibling) who is financially dependent on the Fellow and will spend a minimum of five continuous months with the Fellow in the country of assignment.
What if I decide to take one or more accompanying persons with me on the fellowship?
The monthly dependent allowance ($500) is the same whether one or more dependents reside with the Fellow. You will be required to complete an accompanying persons and dependents declaration form (included in the Fellow acceptance letter package) and submit it to the cooperating agency for each accompanying person or dependent. Accompanying persons are not required to complete or submit any additional paperwork (such as a health form, contract, or other materials) to the English Language Fellow Program. It is your responsibility to determine if a visa or immunizations are required for your dependent(s). You should also inform the U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment that you will be bringing one or more accompanying persons or dependents.
I’d like my minor child to travel with me. Is this possible?
This is allowed, but you should first contact the English Language Fellow Program and inform them that you would like to travel with another person. You are responsible for paying all expenses for the other person’s travel and anyone traveling with you. 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.
Is housing that will accommodate a family provided during my fellowship?
The U.S. Embassy is only required to identify housing suitable for one person, but may choose to help locate housing to accommodate dependents. If larger housing cannot be located within the allocated living allowance, you must use your stipend to offset the cost of housing that will accommodate dependents.
Does the accompanying person need to be a U.S. citizen?
The English Language Fellow Program has no citizenship requirements for accompanying persons. It is your responsibility to ensure any accompanying persons have the correct visa and paperwork to enter the country of assignment. You must also make the U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment aware of the accompanying person’s citizenship. In the event of an evacuation the U.S. Department of State can only help with the evacuation of U.S. citizens.
What is my employment status while on assignment?
You are not employed by the U.S. government, the cooperating agency, or any agency or government of your country of assignment. You are instead considered a grantee and, for tax purposes, a supplier or independent contractor. You are bound by the terms and conditions of the fellowship agreement and cannot expect any additional compensation, except what is detailed and explained within your fellowship agreement.
Can I undertake other work, either paid or unpaid, while I’m on assignment?
Not usually, and only with the approval of the U.S. Embassy in your country of assignment. Such work cannot be included in the assigned duties of a Fellow, such as any English language-related project. It also must be allowable under the laws of the country of assignment. If you are offered an English language-related project and your U.S. Embassy approves it, you cannot accept any payment for this work, such as an honorarium, as long as you are a Fellow. 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.
My contact from the U.S. Embassy has not responded to my communication. What should I do?
The English Language Fellow Program is only one small part of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section’s responsibilities, and your point of contact can be extremely busy. You should not expect an immediate response and may wait up to two weeks to receive one. However, if you feel that your emails are not going through, your main point of contact is out of the office, or it has been more than two weeks, you should let the cooperating agency know. We may be able to provide an alternate person to communicate with or contact the U.S. Embassy on your behalf to ensure there are no communication issues. In some cases, you will simply need to wait for a response, as the U.S. Embassy handles other responsibilities outside of the English Language Fellow Program.
Is it possible to extend a Fellowship?
It is possible to renew a fellowship, but it does not happen automatically. All requests for renewal must be made through the U.S. Embassy in your country of assignment. If you are in good standing (current fellowship successfully completed without termination, advances reconciled, in-country debts paid, any funds due to back to the English Language Fellow Program paid, and all reports submitted), you may be awarded a second fellowship in your country of assignment. Your U.S. Embassy and, as applicable, your host institution must request your renewal. Renewal will only be done if the U.S. Department of State agrees to fund the project and selects you for that project again. All renewal requests will be evaluated against any new requests for programs or sites, which are based on the priorities and needs of U.S. Department of State.
Will I have any time off during my fellowship?
If there are times when all academic activities at your host institution are on break and you have no other duties scheduled during that time, you may be able to take a leave. Before you do this, you must have the prior written approval of your host institution and the U.S. Embassy in your country of assignment. This approval is required whether you plan to spend your leave time in your country of assignment or travelling in another country. 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.
Do I need to submit reports as part of my fellowship?
Yes. There are two kinds of reports in the English Language Fellow Program:
- 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.
What is the Community of Practice and what role does it play in my fellowship?
The Community of Practice (COP) is an invitation only online community for Fellows and Fellow alumni. It was created to be a place to:
- 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.
I have a blog or website. Are there any restrictions on what I post to it regarding and during my assignment?
No, but understand that U.S. freedom of speech guarantees may not be applicable in your country of assignment. Privacy settings, even if you enable them, may not work and your posts may be viewable by the authorities or even citizens of your country of assignment. Be aware of this when you are posting comments on blogs, websites, or other social media platforms. Be aware of any local sensitivities while in your country of assignment, and consider the reaction of local colleagues and authorities who may read your posts. Offensive posts could create tension and ultimately result in cancelation of your project and therefore your fellowship as well. 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."
I’ve developed some materials and works while I’ve been on assignment. Do I own the copyright?
No. Materials created or developed by you while on assignment (Work Products) that are directly related to your fellowship duties become the exclusive property of the cooperating agency. All these works will be considered “works made for hire” under U.S. copyright law. The cooperating agency intends to make these materials (Work Products) freely available to all by placing the copyright in the public domain. This will make them available to anyone who wishes to use them for whatever purpose. If you want to use any of these materials, the cooperating agency will grant you or anyone else who wishes to use them a royalty-free, fully transferable, non-exclusive, irrevocable, and unconditional license to use them.
What happens if I leave my assignment early?
You are expected to stay on your assignment and carry out your duties until the end date specified in your fellowship agreement. If you leave five days or less before your assigned departure time, you must have written permission from your host institution and the U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment, or it will be grounds for early termination. If you leave more than five days before your end date, you will be considered to have left your assignment early and your fellowship agreement will be terminated.
Are there any reasons that a Fellow or assignment might be terminated?
Yes. The completion of your Fellow agreement is contingent upon your ability to obtain a passport and any necessary visa(s) that your country of assignment requires, appropriate conditions that exist prior to and during your fellowship in your country of assignment, and your ability to complete the duties and responsibilities associated with your project. The U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment can direct the cooperating agency to terminate your fellowship agreement at any time during your fellowship agreement period or prior to your departure. Other reasons for termination could include: engaging in offensive, inappropriate, unethical, or illegal acts; violating program, agreement or host institution policies; failure to communicate with the U.S. Embassy or the cooperating agency; failure to follow instructions or guidance from the U.S. Embassy; or if you are unable to perform your duties for any reason (medical, political, natural disasters, etc.) or abandon your duties.
Will I receive the rest of my stipend if my fellowship is terminated?
If your fellowship agreement is terminated, the English Language Fellow Program will review all payments made to you up to your termination date. The total amount of your stipend and living allowance, if applicable, will be reduced to a prorated amount, calculated by the number of days stated in the amended Fellowship Agreement Period. Final accounting of stipend and living allowance will be adjusted to reflect the amended Fellowship Agreement Period. If, as a result of this recalculation, you owe the program money, having received advance payment for duties not performed, this owed amount must be refunded to the Program within thirty (30) days of the termination date. If, as a result of this recalculation, the Program owes you money, a final payment of the pro-rated amount will be made to your bank account.
Safety and Security
How are security issues addressed?
Your personal safety is our top priority. Before you leave for your country of assignment, you should register with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program), a service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs. When you arrive at your destination, you will have a security briefing with the Regional Security Officer (RSO). At that time, you should stop in at American Citizen Services (ACS) to learn about their available services, including important phone numbers. 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.
What support is provided in country?
The U.S. Department of State has systems in place so that English Language Fellows can effectively carry out their work. Throughout the fellowship, the Public Affairs Section (PAS) and Regional English Language Officers (RELOs) posted at U.S. Embassies provide on-the-ground support and guidance. U.S. Embassy staff, to the extent possible, will help Fellows arrange for housing and navigate program/cultural logistics in country.
What if there is a personal emergency back home and I have to leave quickly?
You must promptly notify your host institution, the U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment, and the cooperating agency if you have to leave suddenly because of a personal emergency. Try to notify them how long you expect to be out of your country of assignment. Except for such an emergency, you cannot leave your country of assignment without prior written approval from your host institution and the U.S. Embassy.
What happens if there is a political crisis and I need to be evacuated?
When an evacuation is ordered, the cooperating agency and the U.S. Embassy in your country of assignment will work with you to ensure your timely departure. There are different kinds of evacuations, depending on the circumstances, which are addressed on a case-by-case basis. 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.
What happens if I have an accident or I become too ill to stay on assignment?
You must inform the U.S. Embassy in the country of assignment if you seek emergency medical attention for any reason. In the past, some Fellows have experienced unexpected medical conditions (serious illness or injury) requiring medical evacuation either to the U.S. or to another country for proper treatment. Unless you have your own personal coverage, before you make any medical evacuation plan, or one is made for you, you need pre-approval for it to be covered by ASPE. You need pre-approval from ASPE’s administrator Seven Corners before any evacuation plans are made. Call Seven Corners collect at +1 317-818-2867 to get approval. Once notified of the medical emergency, Seven Corners will determine whether your condition is so severe that it requires a level of care not available in the country of assignment, or is clearly life threatening. Seven Corners will confer with the U.S. Department of State about the need for evacuation.
My fellowship has ended but I want to remain in my country of assignment. Is this possible?
Yes, if you meet all of the visa requirements of your country of assignment, which is your responsibility to ensure. You must also abide by any limitations imposed by your country of assignment. You should also change your status from “Fellow” to “American citizen in-country resident” with STEP and the U.S. Embassy’s ACS. You are no longer a Fellow after your fellowship has ended or has been terminated. 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.
Am I still covered by ASPE if I stay longer in my country of assignment?
No. You are only covered by ASPE during the period of your fellowship as well as on the day of travel immediately before your start date and on the day of travel immediately following the final day of your fellowship.
Can I reapply to the program again after some time has passed?
Yes. If you have successfully completed a fellowship in the past, you can apply again. However, preference will be given to first-time applicants. This is because the English Language Fellow Program is an exchange program, with the goal of exposing as many educators as possible to another country and its culture. Therefore:
- 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.
Would I be able to choose my assignment?
No. As a returning Fellow, you may have to be considered for hard-to-fill assignments late in the recruitment cycle. The matching process for hard-to-fill projects is the same as with regular projects. If you are matched to a project, you will be notified and given an opportunity to accept the match or decline it; if you decline it, your application would be returned to the pool of available candidates. Hard-to-fill projects are not usually identified until mid-June or later.
What do I need to do to reapply?
To participate in the program again, former Fellows must:
- 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.
What questions will my PAS/RELO be asked?
Your U.S. Embassy will be asked to answer the following questions:
- 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?