Summer Abroad for Teachers: Ways to Spend Summer Traveling as a Teacher

Summer abroad experiences can be incredibly enriching for teachers, providing them with new perspectives, cultural insights, and professional development opportunities. But, how is this possible? What options are there to spend summer abroad for teachers?

As a former teacher myself, I’ve spent multiple summers abroad teaching and traveling. Here are ten ideas and suggestions for teachers considering a summer abroad. Each one is different, and I’ll provide resources for getting started on your search. Looking for more opportunities? Get my list of over 200 teacher travel opportunities.

Table of Contents

Top Questions for Planning a Summer Abroad for Teachers

How long are opportunities?

Most short-term teaching programs range from just a week to a few months. Some will last a full three months. It’s important to choose which one works best with your schedule before applying.

When should I start looking for these opportunities?

Some of the options for summer abroad for teachers are paid, some are ongoing professional development, and still others are volunteer based.

This one depends on which option you are choosing! Many fellowships and professional development programs will start applications during the fall prior to the summer. However, most jobs will begin recruiting a few months before.

You also want to consider any visas or updates to your passport you may need to make. It’s best to give yourself plenty of time to apply and ensure you are prepared for your summer abroad.

How much can I make during a summer abroad?

Salaries and benefits will be dependent on the type of teaching job, the location, and of course, the individual employer. However, as a guide, here’s a look at the average monthly pay and perks for typical short-term teaching opportunities.

    •  Summer camps: English teachers working at summer camps in Europe can expect free lodging and meals along with a monthly stipend of around $1,000 to $1,500 USD. Some camps in Germany can pay up to $2,500.
    • Internships: monthly salaries for teaching interns can range from $700-$1,000 USD. Some internships may include accommodation. Free accommodation is most common in China.
    • Volunteer: typically unpaid, but benefits generally include free accommodation, meals, and transportation. Other perks like language classes, insurance coverage, or excursions may be offered, too, depending on the program.
    • Language schools: salaries vary greatly depending on the country or region. English teachers at language schools in Eastern Europe can expect around $800-$1,100 USD a month, while teachers in Asia earn more, usually around $1,500-$2,500 USD.

Where can I go as a teacher for the summer?

Short-term teaching opportunities can be found all over the world but here are some of the best destinations to spend a few weeks or months abroad. You’ll find all types of options around the world, though these are some patterns I’ve seen.

Summer camps: Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are three of the most popular destinations for short-term summer camp opportunities.

Internships: teachers interning in Thailand, China, and Cambodia can expect good pay and benefits for their short-term assignments.

Volunteer: India, Peru, and Nepal happily welcome enthusiastic volunteer teachers and in return provide accommodation, meals, and eager and friendly students.

Language schools: Spain, Italy, Poland, Vietnam, and China are always looking for English speakers for short-term teaching gigs.

International Teaching Programs

Look for international teaching programs that offer short-term opportunities for teachers to work abroad during the summer. Many organizations facilitate exchanges or short-term placements where teachers can teach in a different country.

When searching for teaching jobs for the summer, the most common places to look are directly on school and language center websites, on ESL job boards, and through teaching abroad programs or recruiters.

Here are some places to look during your job hunt:

Teach Abroad Programs and TEFL Providers: CIEE Teach Abroad, The Cultural Exchange Project

Directly on school and language center websites: EF, Berlitz, Maximo Nivel, International House

TEFL Job Boards: Dave’s ESL, GoOverseas.com

TEFL and teacher recruiters: SeekTeachers

Photo by Ian Wagg on Unsplash

English Summer Camps

When it comes to building new skills and developing excellent traits for teaching, it’s hard to beat a summer school or camp.

A summer camp experience allows you to build a rapport with students, including not just English lessons, but also practical activities and an overall culture where students are encouraged to speak in English.

A summer school/camp is a perfect opportunity to show your flair for the unique and give memorable lessons in a different kind of environment. Both qualities blend into each other – you have to show initiative and wherewithal to put your stamp on proceedings.

Problem-solving skills are also vital. You’re likely to come up against challenges you’ve not faced as a teacher, so being able to think quickly is a boost. That, and of course, a real passion for teaching and for getting better at communicating, will make you an outstanding candidate to teach at a summer camp.

Some of the best camps for teachers hoping to gain summer experience include XUK in the UK, the ACLE camp in Italy, and Skouras in Greece. Some other well-known summer camps include The English Camp Company, The American Village, TECS, and The International Camp Network.

English Homestay Tutor or Au Pair

As a homestay tutor or au pair, you typically live with a local family abroad to help care for students on summer vacation and provide English tutoring services. These homestay experiences are a great way to teach English while immersing in the local culture.

A few different websites organize these types of programs, including Workaway, Au Pair, English Nanny, and The Cultural Exchange Project, which specializes in homestay tutor programs. As a homestay tutor or au pair, your salary is typically quite low and may only include room and board, and a small weekly stipend for spending money.

Photo by sofatutor on Unsplash

Private Tutor

Teachers can also consider being a private tutor for the summer in a different country. There are two primary ways to become a private tutor: with an online teaching platform or independently. Those who tutor on a platform such as Preply or Lingoda enjoy access to a network of students, teaching resources, and marketing help. However, these platforms take a small commission fee or pay teachers a set rate for their services.

Those who opt to tutor privately can set their schedule and pay rate but must find their own students and market themselves independently. Many private tutors advertise their services on their social media accounts, local job boards, and websites like Fiverr or LinkedIn.

Depending on experience and educational background, private English tutors can typically earn between $10-$25+ per hour.

Volunteer Opportunities

Consider volunteering with educational organizations or NGOs abroad. This can be a rewarding way to contribute your skills and make a positive impact on education in a different cultural context.

Charities are always looking for certified teachers to fill summer positions, and it’s all the better when they can do so without spending money.

Always choose these opportunities carefully to make sure you are going with an ethical, well-researched charity organization, especially if you’re teaching English abroad. Voluntourism is a major issue, and you do not want to contribute to these issues.

There are specific organizations, like Angloville, British Council’s, Global Volunteers, Family Legacy, and Projects Abroad – ethical companies or charities that encourage you to expand your experience teaching. I have personally volunteered and taught abroad with Family Legacy in Zambia.

Peace Corps Response provides the opportunity to serve a much shorter term than the traditional two-year Peace Corps commitment. Teachers are frequently recruited for Peace Corps Response placements because many limited-term positions focus on education. The Peace Corps pays for your travel and provides a modest living allowance. The application process is lengthy but well worth it! Stints can span from a few months to a year.

Photo purchased on Shutterstock

Professional Development Travel Experiences

Attend workshops, conferences, or seminars in a foreign country that focus on your specific area of expertise or interest in education. This can be an excellent way to learn about innovative teaching methods and connect with educators from around the world.

Qatar Foundation International (QFI) provides professional and curriculum development for teachers to learn about Arab nations and cultures, some of which include travel.

Fund for Teachers awards fellowships for summer learning experiences to pre K-12 teachers, empowering them to pursue their passions to then pique student engagement. Each fellowship is as unique as the teacher who designed it, and regardless of the destination or discipline, FFT Fellows return to classrooms inspired by their pursuit of ideas, terrains, and cultures and are further equipped to transform student learning.

Earthwatch Institute is an international non-profit whose mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. The Teach Earth program is built upon the principle that every individual can contribute to a sustainable planet, regardless of scientific background or skill.

IIE, an independent non-profit organization founded in 1919, is a world leader in the exchange of people and ideas. IIE administers over 200 programs serving more than 20,000 individuals each year. Program participants are selected through a competitive, merit-based process.

A nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education, Gilder Lehrman has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers, and students that operate in all 50 states. Their workshops focus on American and world history. Private school teachers are expected to contribute to the cost of their workshops.

NEH is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States, providing dozens of workshops and seminars during the summer months. They range from 1-6 weeks and are offered in the U.S.A. and abroad. Longer programs provide meatier stipends.

The NOAA Teacher at Sea program provides hands-on learning experiences throughout the year. Teachers join a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research and survey ship to obtain “clearer insight into our ocean planet, a greater understanding of maritime work and studies, and to increase their level of environmental literacy by fostering an interdisciplinary research experience.”

Language Immersion Programs/Courses

Participate in a language immersion program in a country where the language is spoken. This can enhance your language skills and give you a deeper understanding of language acquisition, which can be valuable when working with English language learners.

Language schools are always putting on summer classes, and they’re a great way to build your CV, as well as to prepare for the upcoming school year and land those excellent ESL jobs.

It’s common for contracted teachers to leave language schools in the middle of a semester or term. Schools will then hire English teachers to work for a short duration before the next semester, perfect for native-speaking travelers who wish to live in one location for a short period of time.

Depending on the course and school, employers may be looking for applicants with previous teaching experience or a teaching certification like TEFL. It’s usually helpful to find jobs with these kinds of language schools while in the same country. This allows you to go in for an interview and, oftentimes, receive the job offer on the spot!

Universities and colleges are great sources for summer language schools, especially in terms of integrating new students from abroad. For example, UCL’s summer English course is a fantastic opportunity, while Edinburgh College also has excellent teaching facilities and an inclusive outlook.

Cultural/Teacher Exchanges

Explore cultural exchange programs that connect teachers with counterparts in other countries. This can involve collaborative projects, sharing teaching strategies, and gaining insights into different education systems.

These tours often include visits to schools, meetings with local educators, and opportunities to explore the educational system of the host country.

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is a teacher exchange program sponsored by the US Department of State. It’s a combo of a teacher exchange and study abroad experience where US teachers work abroad and international teachers work in the US. Candidates team teach, observe classes, run workshops, review courses, and work on a long term project. This is a longer program at 3 – 6 months.

Sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, Keizai Koho offers two-week summer study tours in Japan with a focus on economics, business, and education. Fellows participate in lectures and visit cultural sites throughout the two weeks. A requirement of the program is to create a lesson plan using what has been learned during the study tour — a small price to pay for a rich educational experience.

The Korea Society offers study tours in Korea throughout the year. Most mornings consist of lectures, followed by afternoon cultural outings to temples, palaces, schools, and restaurants. Be forewarned: the program requires extensive walking in hot and humid temperatures. Also, the Korea Society will expect you to create a unit on Korean culture or history upon your return to the U.S.A.

The Goethe-Institute is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. They promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange.

GEEO offers discounted group travel for teachers. Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has sent over 3,000 teachers worldwide on adventurous travel programs. GEEO’s teacher travel programs are 5 to 23 days long and are designed and discounted to be exciting and affordable for teachers. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, and educators’ guests.

Book Bag Trips hosts trips each year that are a combination of fun and PD. They host trips to places like Disney World, Europe, and Africa. They are a larger company, so they host over 10+ trips each summer.

Fellowships

Some organizations offer global teaching fellowships for educators. These programs often involve a combination of teaching, professional development, and cultural immersion.

Program leader for the CIEE Global Navigator program. CIEE’s program leader position is designed to assist students in exploring a different culture in more than 30 amazing destinations across the world.

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow program is a professional development opportunity made possible by a partnership between National Geographic Education and Lindblad Expeditions. The program takes educators, in small groups of two or three, on an all-expenses paid voyage aboard the Lindblad Expeditions flagship National Geographic Explorer.

The Klingenstein Summer Institute gathers 75 teachers from around the world for an exploration of teaching styles, educational philosophies, educational issues, and personal development. Meeting for two weeks in late June, this intensive program offered in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, is specially designed to make teachers more effective leaders in the classroom and throughout the school.

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International Conferences

Attend international conferences related to education and teaching. These events often bring together professionals from various countries and provide a platform for networking and sharing ideas.

Here are a few places to check for conferences:

There are so many different conferences around the world for education. I recommend researching a conference of interest to you and then using a grant like Fund for Teachers or IIE to fund your travels to and from the conference.

Before embarking on any summer abroad experience, it’s essential to research and plan carefully, considering factors such as visa requirements, health and safety, and the cultural context of the destination. No matter what you choose, you’re going to have an incredible experience!

Looking for ways to spend your summer abroad as a teacher? Check out this comprehensive guide with ideas and resources to get you started!
Looking for ways to spend your summer abroad as a teacher? Check out this comprehensive guide with ideas and resources to get you started!
Looking for ways to spend your summer abroad as a teacher? Check out this comprehensive guide with ideas and resources to get you started!
Looking for ways to spend your summer abroad as a teacher? Check out this comprehensive guide with ideas and resources to get you started!
Meghan

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