Are you an art teacher longing to see the art treasures of Florence, Paris or Beijing? Are you a language teacher desiring to visit one or more of the countries where the language you teach is spoken? Teacher travel grants can make such trips possible.
Travel grants help U.S. teachers travel overseas on short-term visits to experience new cultures and explore new ideas. It’s not a vacation: Educators usually explore different instructional methods and broaden their horizons through cultural and academic immersion programs.
Government organizations, private companies and non-profit international organizations sponsor travel grants for teachers. Some programs give the money to the teacher; others pay expenses directly. Some programs are teacher exchanges where a teacher from overseas goes to your school while you teach at their school; with others, you travel independently.
Grants usually target a subject area or emphasize specific research or professional development goals. While some grants have a wide, general focus like a student exchange programs, others function as travel-work or teach-abroad programs.
Limitations and requirements on grants run a wide gamut. For instance:
Numerous travel grants are available to teachers in U.S. public and private schools. Here are a few notable programs:
This highly competitive and selective travel grant is available through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Awards. It’s open to teachers, curriculum specialists, guidance counselors, special education coordinators and librarians.
If you’re selected, you can spend three to six months in an overseas school, university or research center. You’ll also be required to work at least some time in a local school in the host country. You’ll also have to complete a “Capstone Project” that benefits students in your home schools. The grant pays all travel expenses, lodging, programs costs and tuition fees and other costs.
This federally funded program offers up to $6,000 for travel expenses for teachers wishing to do summer research in their field both in the United States and abroad. The NEH also offers a “Summer Seminars and Institutes” program in the US and abroad, where teachers join organized continuing education programs. As you would expect, this is a highly competitive program.
Earthwatch offers field enrichment trips to teachers in grades K-12. More than 90 destinations are offered, both in the US and in other countries. You’ll get to work alongside experts in your field doing important work. All expenses are covered at the destination and some trips offer a stipend to cover travel to and from the destination. After the trip, teachers are expected to develop a lesson plan about the subject of their trip and share their experiences with others in their community.
The TGC Project travel grant is available to secondary school teachers in the United States. The International Research and Exchange Board (IREX), a non-profit organization that operates under the aegis of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Awards, manages the TGC Project.
The program offers a fully paid, two- or three-week international fellowship in countries including India, Ghana, Brazil, Indonesia and Ukraine. Teachers graduate with a deeper understanding of international pedagogy. To qualify for the fellowship, teachers must successfully complete an online course and attend a Global Education Symposium in Washington, D.C.
American Councils offers a program known as “Educational Seminars” that pays for U.S. educators to participate in short-term teacher-exchange programs in other countries. The program helps teachers broaden their horizons by learning about the culture, teaching methodologies, educational system and social mores in different countries.
Teachers must have at least three years of experience to apply. Educational seminars are available in China, India, Brazil and Portugal. The program pays for all travel, lodging and program-related expenses.
Fund for Teachers, a private non-profit foundation, provides travel fellowships for close to 500 teachers each year. The program allows teachers to propose international projects that they think will benefit them professionally and have an impact on their students.
The fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to teachers whose proposals are accepted. Teams can receive a grant of up to $10,000 under the program. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has provided travel grants to nearly 5,000 teachers and has approved fellowships in more than 120 countries around the world.
Each travel grant program has its own deadline and requirements. Generally, teachers need to have at least a few years’ teaching experience. Programs are offered that augment virtually any teacher’s base of knowledge.
Many more travel grants are available to educators. If you’re interested in pursuing these opportunities, keep these points in mind.
Don’t think that just because you are living on a teacher’s salary and supporting a family that overseas travel is beyond your means. Well-traveled teachers make better teachers, and there are dozens of organizations that will help make such an experience possible for you.