One of the most life-changing things a professor or teacher can experience is to see how the rest of the world lives. Whether that’s taking a trip to another state, country, or continent, did you know that there are plenty of resources out there for teachers to travel – and for free?
We have compiled 20 great resources that cover education fellowships, conference grants, institutes and funding for both your professional development as well as your personal pleasure. Whether you want to take a group of students on scientific exploration or spend some time honing your cultural awareness and language skills, there’s a grant or fellowship for you. And if you’re a professor, you can find listings of beautiful homes to stay in if you are able to combine your grant or fellowship with your sabbatical!
If you are in any doubt that the funding opportunity applies to you, reach out to the institution. Many of these grants go to the same people year after year because others just don’t know that the grants are there. They exist for teachers of arts and humanities to math and science, as well as grants for administrators and curriculum creators who would benefit from learning about international teaching environments.
It’s important to note that there is a huge variety of dates and deadlines for the various applications, so don’t assume that all of the fellowships require the same submission dates. Where possible we’ve specified if you need to apply any way other than directly, but it’s vital to make sure that your submitted applications are as complete as possible.
Now grab a cup of coffee and see where in the world you could end up.
Related: Travel Resources for Professors
Fulbright Opportunities for Educator and Teacher Travel Grants
Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program
The first of several available Fulbright Fellowships, this program will allow you to spend 3-6 months pursuing research, individual programs, career development, or delivering masterclasses in one of a wide range of countries. It is open for any full-time teacher from elementary through high school, as well as curriculum heads and specialists, guidance counselors, librarians or media specialists, and coordinators for Special Education or Talented and Gifted programs. An educator is expected to have at least 5 years of teaching experience, as well as a U.S. citizen and fluent in English, as well as have (or be on the way to earning) a Master’s Degree.
PLEASE NOTE: There is also a program that allows international teachers to visit the U.S. and work on a Fulbright Award for up to 4 months, which can be navigated from the same site.
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program (ETA)
This Fulbright is open to any U.S. citizen who holds a Bachelor’s degree of any kind – so being a teacher is not a specific requirement, although educators are actively encouraged to apply. The ETA lasts for one academic year in one of 70 host countries. As with the other Fulbrights, the award covers the costs of travel, accommodation, as well as maintenance and cost of living, while you are expected to work to strengthen the teaching of English in elementary through college-level classes in your host country.
The Fulbright FLTA Program (FLTA)
The Fulbright FLTA Program is designed for non-U.S. citizens who are teachers to travel to the U.S. for one academic year and improve their ability to teach English as a Foreign Language while immersing themselves in U.S. cultures and customs and assisting the teaching of foreign languages in U.S. institutions.
Fulbright Hays Summer Seminars
If you can’t take off a full academic year, the Fulbright Hays Summer Seminars allow teachers to spend 4 to 6 weeks (between late May and mid-August) traveling to one or more countries around the world. The seminar program is designed to help U.S. citizens who are teachers to visit a new country and enjoy a culturally broad and deep introduction to a specific country and culture or range of countries. The program is designed for people who have very little knowledge of the host countries, and who can demonstrate the need to enhance their curriculum through travel. It is open for teachers of K-12, as well as administrators who develop curricula in humanities, area, or language studies. Educators and administrators should currently work in education full time and have a Bachelor’s degree and at least 3 years of teaching experience.
Fulbright International Education Administrators Program (IEA)
This two-week Fulbright program is open to U.S. senior-level administrators at community colleges, colleges, and universities. Administrators are given the opportunity to learn all about the education system of their host country while establishing themselves within a network of international and U.S. colleagues. All expenses are paid, and travel is available to various countries so that administrators can enhance and develop their skills in serving and encouraging international students and prospective study-abroad students.
Fulbright Travel Grant
One challenge of funding for travel while teaching or studying abroad is the need to combine various grants and awards. The Fulbright Travel Grant is one of those that can fill in the gaps. Designed for U.S. citizens who have Bachelor’s degrees and who already have a grant for study or research that involves traveling to Hungary, Italy, or Germany, this Grant provides additional travel funds. It is a requirement for applicants to have sufficient skill in the language of their host country to live and work there while performing their proposed research. It is also possible on this program to qualify for a grant that covers more than just travel, so be sure to apply carefully!
Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Program
If you are working as part of a group, the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program could be exactly what you need. The amount of the grant varies, as does the duration of the grant (from a few weeks to several years), and depends wholly on the project type. The grants can be used for many distinct purposes, such as advanced overseas intensive language training or other purposes. It is expected that all group members must be U.S. citizens as well as faculty members in modern foreign languages. Applicants can also be elementary through high school educators, or university students who intend to teach foreign languages after graduation. This grant must be applied for directly to the Department of Education by an institution (Institution of Higher Education, Nonprofit Organizations or State Education Agencies).
Teachers for Global Classrooms Program
IREX administers this program for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which is a year-long exchange for U.S. teachers who are working in elementary, middle, and high schools. The program is run by the guidelines established by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and structured to include a significant amount of training as well as international field experience and an opportunity to attend a global education symposium in Washington, DC.
Environmental and STEM Opportunities for Teacher Travel Grants
Grosvenor Teacher Fellowships
Every year, National Geographic teams up with Lindblad Expeditions to take K-12 geography teachers to a wide range of locations around the world. Typically, 25 educators from North America are selected to go on these trips, which involve exotic locations and the opportunity to engage in professional development and curriculum-building field-based activities. This experience builds an awareness of our planet’s resources that teachers can use to increase global awareness among their students.
Polar Regions Grants
If your interest is all things polar, then this could be the grant for you. PolarTREC offers annual grants to U.S. 6–12 teachers to locations such as Alaska, Greenland, and Antarctica. The trip length is 3 – 6 weeks in one of these areas, where you can actively participate in field research projects. Since 2007, this has included the dynamics of the wetland areas and coastal ecology and provides an experience that invigorates teachers when they are back to their classrooms.
Teacher at Sea Grants
One of the longer running grants, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been providing grants since 1990. Since then, over 600 U.S. based K-12 teachers and college educators have been able to travel on NOAA research ships and participate in active research. Onboard, teachers and educators perform research in oceanic and atmospheric science with in-house NOAA scientists.
Teach Earth Conservation Research Grants
Designed for U.S. K-12 educators who are interested in promoting and taking part in conservation projects, the Earthwatch Institute’s Teach Earth program provides the opportunity for educators to take part in international conservation projects. Alongside this, educators also get to take part in outdoor scientific learning that translates back to their day-to-day work in the classroom.
Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) through the Goethe Institut German Study Program
Every year, the Goethe-Institut funds North American STEM and social studies educators who would like to take part in the opportunity to travel through Germany. Providing the funding for two-week excursions, educators can engage with the whole country, with the Institut proud of the fact that “each corner of Germany is sampled through sight, sound, touch, and taste.”
Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows Program in STEM
The Einstein Educator Fellows is provided for U.S. educators who want to advocate for STEM on Capitol Hill or in congressional offices for up to a year. Participants will have the opportunity to share their extensive STEM knowledge and classroom experience with key education policymakers to affect education policy nationally.
Earthwatch Institute Teacher Fellowships
If you’re a U.S. K-12 educator with a deep love for science (regardless of your teaching specialty) then this could be the scholarship for you! The Earthwatch Institute provides funds for educators to assist with world-class scientists in a variety of international locations, from Arizona and Montana to Little Cayman and the Arctic’s edge. The fellowship covers the cost of the weeklong expedition, as well as part of your travel expenses to and from the expedition.
Earthwatch Student Group Expedition Leader
If the Earthwatch Fellowship sounds tempting but you’re not sure that you’d be able to swing it or not, then an alternative might just be the Earthwatch Student Group Expedition. The requirement for these is that you need to be able to organize 6 or more paying students to go on a group expedition, and your fare is free. The expedition can be any time between 1 and 2 weeks, at any time of the year, and is a great way to get young people enthusiastic about how exciting science really is.
International Teacher Travel Grants for Educational Professional Development
Council on International Educational Exchange
This teach abroad exchange program allows you to live abroad for a semester, or even a full school year (and beyond), while earning a salary. Although salaries are not always particularly high, the cost of living in many places means you can be more than comfortable – and some opportunities offer housing and other benefits as standard. In order to be eligible for this program, you need to have any Bachelor’s degree and a native speaker of English. Any other requirements vary depending on where you’re interested in traveling. Typically, the job involves teaching English to students of all ages.
Fund for Teachers Fellowships
If you are a U.S. educator, then a Fund for Teachers fellowship could be a great opportunity for you to design your own professional development program. FFT Fellowships often include funds for domestic and international travel as part of the grant proposal. Click through to see if this is the right fit for you, or to check out some of their other funding opportunities.
Study Abroad for Teachers
TLab is a wonderful resource for U.S. based English and Drama teachers who would like to travel to the U.K. The three-week-long course invites educators to spend 3 weeks at one of the various education opportunities: the Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance course at the Globe Theatre in London; English, writing or Politics at the University of Oxford; Text, Context, Theater, and Performance at the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School, based in Edinburgh. The scholarships available cover tuition fees, accommodation, and most board, although not necessarily travel costs.
Education First (EF) Educational Tours
Similar to Earthwatch Expeditions, Education First will sponsor a teacher to supervise over 6 paying students on a tour. For every 6 students, another adult chaperone is also entitled to come along, which is an exciting opportunity to show the world to your students while making sure you’re not stranded on your own. These tours are well-organized and allow you to enjoy the countries you are visiting as well as getting a taste of what living in those countries might be like for you as an educator.
The reality is that there is actually a huge range of funding available for teachers who would benefit from teaching or traveling internationally – whether that is for your studies, or to take part in career development or to immerse yourself in a subject you are passionate about to bring that back to your work in education.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, so it’s well worth searching for the grant – or grants – that you may be eligible for, or eligible to combine. There are plenty more resources out there, and hundreds of grants looking for qualified educators to apply! Take a look at some of the resources on these sites:
If you’re a professor who’s interested in taking a sabbatical, be sure to check out SabbaticalHomes for beautiful, safe houses to rent when taking a sabbatical and any travel you are able to add to your sabbatical!