Frequently Asked Questions
You may already be familiar with the benefits of participating on a teach, work or volunteer program, and you’ve likely come to this page with some more specific questions. Please read our FAQs below and consult our program profiles for details about placement locations, placement responsibilities, living stipends (for teach/work placements), housing options, application requirements, application deadlines, and more.
If you still have questions after reviewing this information, please don’t hesitate to contact our Austin office.
Why should I pay to get a teaching job or to volunteer abroad?
This is the question on everyone’s mind! It can be challenging to seek out your own placement abroad, and API specializes in supporting you through every step of the process. We will advise you on the options that best fit your skills and goals, coordinate and confirm your placement abroad prior to your departure, share information about your host country, help you get necessary documents for your visa application, and even arrange your international medical and life insurance. API’s commitment to our participants ensures that you have a solid support network standing behind you before, during, and after your program. Not having to worry about these arrangements means you can focus on preparing for a successful experience abroad.
API’s application fee pays for: an experienced Program Coordinator from our Austin office who will provide personalized attention to help pre-arrange your placement; pre-departure orientation materials and an API t-shirt; full-time emergency response support while you are abroad; and a TOMS or Krama Wheel “pay it forward” bonus. API also prorates the expenses for marketing, advertising, communication, and site visits/development among all of our programs within our application fees.
The program fee offsets the expenses on-site: airport pick-up, orientation, and our local partners’ fees and bilingual support, as well as your international medical and life insurance. In many of our programs, the program fee also includes your accommodations. (See “Where will I live?” below for more details.) In many of the locations where our participants teach or volunteer abroad, the organizations and schools most in need of your work are unable to cover all the costs of hosting you in their community. The program fee gives you the opportunity to invest in your host community and contributes to long-term and sustainable relationships between API, our teachers and volunteers, and our partners and host organizations abroad.
What is the application process like, and when will I have confirmation about my placement?
You can review the steps in the application process here. Once you are accepted to your program, we will provide you with a full timeline specific to your individual program and its placement process.
May I teach, work or volunteer and/or live with a friend or partner?
At most of our locations, we are able to host two teachers or volunteers at the same time. We ask that you inform us of your preferences at the earliest possible time, so that we can plan ahead for your special request.
May I bring my children and/or pets with me?
Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed on our individual programs (teach, work or volunteer). However, we may be able to arrange a group trip for your family. Please contact the Director of Experiential Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to tailor a program for your family.
Please note that if your program accommodations include staying with a host family or in pre-arranged teacher/volunteer housing, pets are prohibited. If you arrange your own accommodations, your landlord may permit a pet, but your host destination’s immigration laws may require your pet(s) to go through a lengthy quarantine process.
Is there someone I may speak to about their experience on this program, and being abroad?
Yes, we are happy to connect you with a current or past teacher or volunteer. Due to confidentiality, please contact our Austin office to receive information about participants and alumni that have agreed to be contacted by prospective applicants. Additionally, we encourage you to check out, use, and get involved with our social media community and read posts on the API blog. These sites will provide great insight into what you should expect while preparing for and enjoying your adventure abroad.
How might my volunteer work impact my host community?
Everyone wants to feel their contribution is worthwhile, no matter how short or long the program lasts. The single-best way to provide meaningful support to your host community is to approach your volunteer work with an open mind and a giving heart. In the case of our volunteer programs, many of our partners have long-standing relationships within the community. API volunteers contribute to long-term organizational goals even though their work may be short-term in nature. Your hosts will know how you can best serve the community during your time abroad, so please be willing to pitch in when and where you are most needed, even if the task seems routine or menial. You are part of a larger whole, and your efforts will help your hosts advance their goals in a way that sustains a positive cycle of change and development in their work in the community.
Where will I live?
Depending on your program, you may be housed with a host family or in a volunteer lodge, dormitory, or a small, furnished apartment. Please see this chart of what’s included in your program for a full listing of housing and meal options by location.
How can I fund this program?
Crowdfunding has become one of the leading ways that people create personal campaigns to fund their trips. We recommend the following crowdfunding websites:
- FundMyTravel – FundMyTravel allows you to create your own travel campaign to raise funds for your trip.
- Fundly– The Fundly online fundraising platform is used by thousands of organizations big and small, along with individuals who need to raise money for a cause, and provides easy fundraising tools, online donation processing, a donor management system, customer support, and much more.
- GoFundMe– GoFundMe makes it incredibly easy to raise money online for the things that matter to you most. You’ll be able to quickly personalize your fundraising campaign and share it with the people in your life.
- Plumfund – Plumfund’s simplified online fundraising platform makes fundraising for travel and adventure easier and more convenient than ever.
- Rally – Rally is an online social fundraising platform that makes it easy for individuals, groups, social causes and non-profits to fundraise online with no tipping points or hassle.
API understands the financial burden that recent graduates face with student loans. While we cannot guarantee that you will be granted it, we will be more than happy to write a letter to your lender requesting loan deferment during the duration of your teach, work or volunteer program.
What type of visa assistance does API provide?
If your program requires a visa, API will provide visa assistance by sharing information and by providing a letter of invitation from the host school or institution. Please note that any visa fees are the responsibility of the applicant. While we can assist you during the visa application process, ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that you have obtained the appropriate visa for your experience abroad. API has no control over the visa process and cannot guarantee that your visa application will be accepted.
When should I buy my plane ticket(s) and does API provide any resources to help with plane tickets?
Plane tickets should not be purchased until after your placement has been officially confirmed.
International travel comprises one of the largest expenses in your budget, so it is important to find the best deals possible. API encourages our participants to search through various travel sites and/or work with a trusted agent in order to find the best arrangements for their situation. Many of our participants work with STA Travel. They have great student/youth/teacher rates, and they have a nominal service fee if you need to make any changes before or during your travels. Click on this link to receive a quote from STA Travel or call their dedicated API phone line (1-800-216-2977) to begin your airfare investigation.
What is the Carbon Offset Program I read about on the website?
API wants to positively impact our world. We have partnered with Carbon Clear, one of the largest providers of carbon-offset credits, to address the environmental effect of our participants’ travels abroad. API has chosen projects that participants may elect to sponsor for US$15 including: methane capture landfill project in Valparaiso, Chile; energy efficient railways in Delhi, India; and a biomass cogeneration project in São Paulo, Brazil. For more details about this program, follow this link: https://www.apistudyabroad.com/about/green/
What do I do if I have a problem or complaint with my placement once I’m abroad?
First, you should speak directly with your employer, school director or volunteer coordinator to give them an opportunity to explain or investigate the situation. If you feel the problem or complaint is not sufficiently addressed, then please contact your local representative abroad as well as the API Austin office so that we can mediate on your behalf. All participants will be assigned a local representative that will provide you with placement detail(s) and an end-of-program certificate/evaluation (upon request).
How and why is API collaborating with TOMS and Krama Wheel?
API knows that your adventures abroad wouldn’t be possible without generous hosts welcoming you on your arrival and supporting you throughout your stay. As a way to give back to communities around the world, we want to wrap up your experience and honor your commitment by paying it forward. All participants who respond to our series of program reflection questionnaires will receive a completion bonus from an organization whose mission resonates with our own, and this will in turn provide a product or service for someone in need. API shares the vision of these organizations’ missions:
TOMS – with every product purchased, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One®.
Krama Wheel – with every product purchased, one weaver is paid fairly, treated respectfully, and better able to support her family; one local seamstress is paid to sew a school uniform; and one child gets a uniform so he or she can attend school.
Krama Wheel’s founder is API’s very own Director of Customized Programs, Roni Sivan! Read about her journey here.