Frequently Asked Questions: Application Process

Steps to get started

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  1. Create an account via
  2. Click "start an application."
  3. Choose "Teach English abroad" under program type. 
  4. Choose your country of choice. For list of all countries, read our location blog.
  5. Choose a specific program and term, then hit "submit."
  6. Complete any items that are on your list.

A blue "Submit" application button appears when you have finished everything that we need to begin reviewing your application.

Ready to begin


Application Process

Can I apply to more than one program?

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You shouldn’t apply to more than one CIEE Teach Abroad program at a time. It means extra work for you and doesn’t give you an advantage. Most of our programs have a very high acceptance rate, and even if you’re not accepted, we will offer to transfer your application to a second-choice program. We advise people to focus on completing one application for their top choice. If you’re not sure which one to choose, give us a call and we can advise you!

When will I hear back about my application?

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If you’re applying close to the deadline, we normally review applications and get back to people within ten business days of submission. If you’re applying early and need to get a decision before the deadline passes, please email your coordinator to explain the situation and they should be able to assist you.

When will I need to pay the program fees?

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There is a non-refundable $50 fee to submit an application. This ensures that we are devoting our time and resources to assisting serious applicants.

Once your application is reviewed and accepted, you’ll be asked to pay a Commitment Deposit. If your program includes TEFL, the deposit amount will be $1,000 and our TEFL team will email you about enrollment in a TEFL class once it is paid. If your program does NOT include TEFL, the deposit amount will be $500.

The remaining balance of the program fee (total fee minus Commitment Deposit) is due a few months later, after you accept a job from a school in your destination country. Visit our Program Pages to see the total fee for each program.

Once I am accepted by CIEE, how long will I have to respond?

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Once an applicant is accepted, we ask them to make a decision about participation and pay a Commitment Deposit within ten calendar days. If that’s not possible or you need more time, be sure to let your coordinator know. Your application will remain active, and we’ll hold the door open as long as we can, but beyond a certain point, you might run out of time to get a visa or all the positions might be filled. You’re also more likely to get a placement that matches your preferences if you make the deposit and get started early.

If you don’t end up making the deposit after all, you can still request a transfer to a future start date so you won’t lose the work you put into your application!

Can I add or remove the TEFL certification from my application?

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Yes! To add TEFL, log on to your application, click on the HOME tab, and then click the ADD TEFL button. You can do this at any time up to departure.

If you opened an application for a program “with TEFL” and would like to opt out, please email your coordinator. Once you have made a deposit and started a TEFL course, however, it’s not possible to change your mind and remove the TEFL course from your program.


I haven’t received my bachelor’s degree yet, can I still apply?

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Yes! You’ll need a bachelor’s degree for all of our paid Teach Abroad programs, but we welcome applications from graduating seniors. You should ask your academic advisor for a letter confirming your expected date of graduation, and you can upload that to your online application in place of your actual degree. Check with your school to confirm when your diploma will be delivered to you, and email a scan to your coordinator at that time.

I don’t currently have a valid passport, can I still apply?

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Yes! You should apply for new or renewed passport right away so you don’t have to pay extra to expedite it later on. You’ll need to enter passport data to complete the application task, so enter “123456789” as the passport number, and made-up dates for the issue and expiration. Take a receipt scan or confirmation email from your new passport application and upload that in place of the passport scan. That will let us review and accept your application, just remember to email a scan of your new passport to your coordinator as soon as it arrives.

How should I answer the questions for the Personal Statement?

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Once you open an application, you’ll be able to see instructions for the Personal Statement, including several question prompts. Most people answer these individually, with a paragraph or two for each. If you prefer, you may combine your answers into a single narrative, as long as you respond to all of the prompts. Both approaches are effective and acceptable. Either way, your combined Personal Statement responses should be roughly 500-800 words in total.

Recommendation Letters

Who should I ask to write my letters?

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Select someone who is/was directly responsible for supervising your work as a student or employee (i.e. a professor or manager). CIEE does NOT accept letters from family members, friends, neighbors, or high school teachers.

Can you change my recommender or re-send the instruction email?

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When you input the name and email of your recommender, our system will automatically send them an email from CIEE with brief instructions on how to prepare and upload their letter. Once that goes out, we’re not able to change the recommender or re-send that email. In those cases, please ask your recommender to prepare a general letter of recommendation, scan it, and email the scan directly to us at so we can upload it for them.

How should letters be formatted?

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The best letters will include letterhead or a business card. If these are not available, your recommender should include a detailed signature block with their organization and job title. Make sure to include your full name, the recommender’s full name, and the recommender’s contact information: email, phone, and mailing address. Letters should be dated within the past year. For more info on letter formatting, you can download this handout and share it with your recommender.

When are recommendation letters due?

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Recommendation letters are due by the Application Deadline for that particular program, which you can find on our Program Pages. If your letters will be a few days late, we will still consider your application as long as there are positions available and sufficient time to get ready.

More Information

See Teach Abroad Program Options

More Questions? Email us or schedule a call!

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