Now is the time for teachers to relax… and apply for free travel


Sand.pngStudies have shown that teachers should take some time to relax during vacations in order to avoid burn out.  That’s obvious, right?

If you are a teacher, here’s what you might not know. Now is the time to apply for a fellowship to travel for free during next summer. Some of these applications are long, but I promise you — it’s worth it. This could you be, next summer:

Me and Buddha

Me and a Giant Buddha in Kamakura, Japan

I have been lucky enough to have received two fellowships, and they both really changed my life in huge ways. You could be doing one of these programs in the not-so-distant future:

Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD ~ Applications due January 20th

GroupPhotoESDSFThis program brings together American and Japanese teachers in both countries for an unbelieveable cross-cultural experience. The fellowship focuses on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which is basically about teaching students to be changemakers and work to make the world a better place. Sustainability isn’t just about the environment. As educators, we can teach students to fight for a planet that has a sustainable economy, culture and traditions, and more. Group at KaraokeOne thing that makes this program unique is that it’s jointly funded by the U.S. government and the Japanese government. I was SO impressed by the cohort of American and Japanese teachers who did the program with me. This was no ordinary group of teachers. The people in my year will be friends for a long time, but also they were totally inspiring educators who see their job as a kind of social justice.

Teachers For Global Classrooms (TGC) ~ Applications due March 17th

TGC is not just a trip, but a year-long professional development experience. Ukrainian HospitalityYou’ll learn about the growing field of global education, through an online course, a symposium in Washington D.C., and a two-week international trip. I went to Ukraine, but other teachers have gone to Morocco, Ghana, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and more.


Doing this program in 2011-2012 really helped me to see how the work that I do every day fits into a larger movement that is changing the way educators see their role. As our world becomes more and more globally connected, the way we teach has to shift. This program connected me with a whole network of people all over the world working to teach students to be true global citizens.

There are many other fellowships that sound pretty fabulous also. Here are a few more, with upcoming deadlines:

  • Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program ~ Applications due January 3rd ~ This prestigious program allows educators to board a National Geographic ship on expeditions to places like the Arctic, Iceland, the Galapagos, Antarctica and more.
  • TOP Germany Study Tour ~ Applications due January 25th ~ The Transatlantic Outreach Program is designed to help Social Studies and STEM teachers experience modern Germany in a hands-on manner.
  • Keizai Koho Center Teacher Fellowship ~ Applications due February 15th ~ If you are a U.S. or Canadian Social Studies teacher, you are eligible for this free study tour in Japan.Chicago and Tokyo Banner

If you don’t get into any of these, don’t lose hope. There are many ways to get abroad without breaking the bank. You might consider:

  • IMG_8349Global Leadership Adventures (Interviews begin in January) ~ Apply to work with high school students on a service learning trip abroad. I served as an International Director in China, and had an absolute blast learning alongside the students.
  • Primary Source Study Tours ~ It’s kind of on the expensive side, but nobody does global education work better than Primary Source. What do you think — Spain and Morocco next July sounds pretty dreamy, right?
  • SaraLionsGEEO ~ This organization runs trips for teachers, with the idea that if you enrich teachers’ lives, you enrich students’ lives. You pay for the trip, but the cost is more reasonable than a lot of other options out there, and you can fundraise to subsidize.
  • Global Competence Certificate Program (Next application deadline is May 22) ~ They have it all: an online course with instructors from Teacher’s College at Columbia, fieldwork in places like Ecuador and Uganda, and collaborative practice groups with other like-minded educators.

Whatever you do, don’t let fear or money get in the way of your chance to see the world. Think ahead, and make it happen. You’ll be glad you did.

But first, take some time to rest up and celebrate the hard work you’ve done in 2015. Teachers — enjoy your well deserved vacation!

ZoeMaliTravel 062

Do you know of other ways for teachers to get abroad? Have you done any of these programs? Share in the comments section so that we can inspire other teachers to apply for these amazing experiences.

Categories: Global Citizenship

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