Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award
Is it for you?
Fulbright ETAs are available in around 75 countries. Each ETA program is designed by the host country, so individual elements vary in terms of location/setting, level of teaching, etc. In most cases, ETAs are placed in schools or universities outside of capital cities; are assigned activities to improve their students’ language abilities and knowledge of the U.S.; and are fully integrated into the host community. Most teaching assignments are not full-time. Applicants are allowed and expected to pursue community engagement activities and sometime additional study/research/service projects in addition to their teaching responsibilities.
Grant lengths and dates vary by country. Please consult the summary chart of ETA programs by region and individual country profiles on the Fulbright website for specifics. In general, grants are one academic year in length (8–11 months) and correspond to the academic calendars abroad.
What are the key dates?
General Information Sessions: Our live info sessions in spring 2023 have concluded. A recording is available is on our Canvas course for JHU Fulbright ETA applicants (see below)
Access our resources for applicants: JHU applicants should plan to begin working with the NFP by the late spring/early summer of 2023. To get started, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for instructions to self-enroll on our Canvas course for JHU applicants.
JHU campus deadline: August 21, 2023 (when applicants should have a complete, carefully developed working draft of their entire application prepared, including recommendations)
National/final deadline: October 10, 2023
Are you eligible?
- be U.S. citizens at the time of application; permanent residents are not eligible.
- hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent before the start of the grant. In the creative and performing arts, four years of professional study and/or experience meets the basic eligibility requirement. Applicants may hold a J.D. degree at the time of application, but not a Ph.D.
- have the language skills and teaching experience required by the host country.
- be in good health. Grantees are required to submit a satisfactory medical certificate of health from a physician.
- meet all eligibility criteria specific to the host country.
Please note: Applicants who have extensive previous experience in the host country of application are at a disadvantage, but are not necessarily disqualified for that reason.
Students intending to apply for medical school or other programs requiring you carry out interviews in the US during the Fulbright year: Per the Fulbright guidelines, grantees may leave the country for a grand total of 14 days during the entire grant period, without deduction in grant benefits. Such leave must be approved in advance by the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the host country and the grantee’s host institution. Returning to the U.S. for med school (or other) interviews, therefore, could pose serious, if not insurmountable, logistical problems. Many interviews may now be carried out virtually; however, consider the challenges of being in another country, possibly in a very different time zone, dependent on local WiFi service, and in the midst of adjusting to a new role and different culture — all while tackling a high-stakes interview. Is that how you want to approach an interview with your top choice school? Attempting to do med school interviews in the first months of your ETA experience will seriously detract from the Fulbright experience while also making it very difficult to give full energy to the interview process. For these reasons and others, we *strongly* advise either 1) applying to medical schools concurrently with the Fulbright application process (so that you hopefully succeed with both, then defer starting medical school for a year) or 2) following your Fulbright year, when you have your Fulbright experience to enrich your candidacy (i.e. you take two years between finishing your undergraduate degree and starting medical school). Please review this PDF Document: set of FAQs about the Fulbright and applying to medical school, and please consult with an NFP advisor and Pre-Professional Advising if you have any questions.
How do you work with the NFP?
To apply through JHU, Fulbright candidates must work with our office. We closely advise candidates who join our campus process in a timely manner on all parts of the application, including facilitating an individual feedback session with faculty.
The timeline gives an overview of the application process and when to reach out to us. In preparation, see “have a closer look” below for more resources about Fulbright ETA grants.
|April – May||Attend or view an info session; join applicants’ Canvas course; complete intent form and meet with NFP to discuss your plans|
|June – August||Draft and revise your application materials; receive feedback from NFP on essay drafts by meeting posted deadlines; solicit letters of recommendation|
|late August||Complete application for campus deadline|
|September||Receive feedback from campus committee; do final revisions on application materials|
|early October||Meet official Fulbright deadline|
Are you competitive?
- Your Motivation and Preparation for Teaching: Teaching must be at the center of your application. Selection committees will want to know your motivation for applying to be an ETA. What excites you about the prospect of teaching English to and sharing American culture with elementary school kids in country X, or university students in county Y? Selection committees also want to know what preparation you have to dive into teaching abroad. Some applicants have classroom experience, and those credentials are valued by certain countries. However, you do not need teaching experience or to plan a career in education to be competitive in many countries. But you will need to articulate how other, related experiences—tutoring, mentoring, serving as an RA, camp counselor, etc.—have provided you with applicable skills and inspiration to teach. You should have a good rationale, too, for why a year of teaching English and American culture will help you succeed in your career of choice.
- Your Eagerness to Live in the Host Country: A competitive application provides a clear and compelling answer to the question, “Why this country?” Selection committees will want to understand your relationship with the country and its language(s), culture, and people. Have you studied there, do you speak the language, do you have family ties, etc., or is the country entirely new to you? Why you are keen to join a community in this specific country? Beyond expressing excitement for a year in the country, if its ETA positions are predominantly located in rural areas, cities, a certain region, etc., you must indicate your readiness and enthusiasm for living in that particular context.
- Your Personal Attributes and Ambassadorial Potential: the core of the Fulbright’s mission is cultural exchange and your competitiveness will depend on your potential to serve as an ambassador of the US and the Fulbright program. Selection committees look for evidence of leadership, maturity, adaptability, open-mindedness, and resilience in your experiences and activities. Such qualities are indicators that you can handle the challenges and setbacks that will likely come with living and teaching in unfamiliar and unstructured situations, and will admirably represent the US as a cultural ambassador. Selection committees also seek candidates who have participated and/or held leadership roles in outward-facing activities, thereby demonstrating a past record of stretching themselves to engage in new contexts and work with a variety of communities.
- Fitting the Requirements and Preferences of the Fulbright Board and Country Fulbright Commissions/Foundations: the US Fulbright Board has general guidelines about time in country and diversity. (1) Preference is usually given to applicants who have not resided in the country to which they are applying for more than six months. Exceptions are: duty abroad in the U.S. Armed Forces, Peace Corps, and standard periods of undergraduate study abroad. (2) An overall preference for as diverse a pool of applicants as possible means those from underrepresented groups (racial/ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, low-income students, students from rural areas, etc.) are especially encouraged to apply. Additionally, individual countries may have any number of particular qualifications or attributes they prefer or require, which candidates must fulfill to be competitive. These may include majors, amount of teaching experience, and ability to support certain extracurricular activities or carry out specific tasks. Malaysia, for example, requires applicants who are willing and able to drive, while Jordan prefers applicants with majors in TEFL/Linguistics, English Literature, American Studies, Area Studies, International Relations, Political Science, or Education.
- Language Preparation: Your host country’s profile will indicate what language(s) is/are required or recommended and at what level (or if none are needed). In addition to meeting that standard, your language skills and goals will be assessed in terms of community engagement—will you be able to interact meaningfully with others in your host community? Unless you already have native or near-native fluency, your application will be more competitive if you indicate how you plan to boost your language skills before and during the grant period. Even if your country of choice does not require language skills, selection committees will favor those who seem most eager to learn.
- Strength of Recommendations: Your recommendations provide independent corroboration of your qualifications and attributes. ETA recommenders complete a form, rather than providing a narrative letter, and must address five specific questions. You should choose your referees carefully, based on how well they can address your ability to overcome challenges, your skills associated with teaching or mentoring, your potential for interacting with host country community members in unfamiliar, unstructured situations and different cultural environments, your ambassadorial abilities, and other qualities that would make you a successful ETA (maturity, adaptability, flexibility, academic/personal experiences).
Have a closer look:
Visit the Official Website
Infusion, the Fulbright Korea ETA literary magazine, showcases the creative reflections current and former Fulbright Korea grantees have of their time in country.
Explore JHU and NFP Resources
If you are interested in applying this cycle, please email us to request instructions to self-enroll on our Canvas course for JHU Fulbright applicants, where Hopkins affiliates will find all the information and resources needed to get started.
List of tutoring/education-related opportunities for JHU students — This list provides students with volunteer opportunities that will give you tutoring, teaching, and/or mentoring experience in preparation for applying for the ETA program. We encourage students to consult this list early in their JHU career, ideally as freshmen and sophomores, to be able to have sustained involvement in one or more of these organizations.
Hear from JHU Recipients
For more testimonials, see our peer testimonials page.