The British Council, the organisation responsible for spreading ‘Brand Britain’ (things like the Monarchy and James Bond) around the world, is shortly to open applications for its 2016-17 Assistantship Programme.
The British Council offers placements to teach English in schools across the globe, from Austria, France and Germany, to Canada, China and Latin America.
Placements last between seven and nine months, usually beginning in September.
Language Assistants spend a minimum of twelve hours in the classroom each week, supporting English teaching, planning lessons, and introducing UK culture through extracurricular activities. In return, the assistants receive a salary and occasionally free accommodation.
Katy Turner, one of this year’s British Council Ambassadors, told The Courier that her experience last year in France was ‘absolutely amazing’, and highly recommended the programme to other eager students.
While Language Assistants have to fund their own travel to the placement, they receive remuneration for their work – around one thousand Euros per month, which covers their overall cost and, as Katy noted, “leave you with a profit.”
An A-Level standard grasp of the destination country’s language is required for most destinations, though no prior knowledge of Mandarin is required for placements in China.
No prior teaching experience is required, and it is not essential to be an aspiring teacher.
The eligible student must, however, be a native English speaker, have passed two years of a university course, and have attended secondary school in the United Kingdom.
Ideally, students who want to take part should be second-year language students preparing to take a year abroad, students looking towards post-graduation or those thinking about taking a gap year.
As placements only last a maximum of nine months, summer won’t be lost. Both the student and their CV will develop through cultural immersion and new friendships, in addition to helping people in a foreign country develop their language skills.
Katy had plenty of time to travel around when not working, proving that there is enough time to be a tourist as well as an educator.
Previous Language Assistants have started small businesses and appeared on Chinese television.
The Programme is an opportunity to boost one’s transferable skills. Cultural awareness, communication and presentation skills, creative thinking and problem solving, time management and teamwork are all abilities that can be developed whilst teaching English abroad.
After the experience many Assistants become teachers, though the skills acquired are transferable to whichever career path they might be considering to choose.
This is a unique opportunity to travel, meet new people, learn a new language and help improve someone else’s life.
If you want to know more, the Ambassadors are holding an information briefing in the Herschel Building (Lecture Theatre 3) on Wednesday, 4 November from 4-5pm.
Applications open online at www.britishcouncil.org on Sunday. The deadline for submission is early December.