Preparing for Your Trip


Below are the general steps you will take as part of the pre-departure process. Don’t panic! We will help you through each and every step. After your acceptance you will receive far more detailed information than provided below. Read on to get an idea of the ebb and flow of preparing to leave.

Overview of steps to take after acceptance:

  • Obtain a Passport
  • Arrange your funding
  • Pay the $350 payment and complete TEFL Pre-Departure Packet (for those participating in WT TEFL Certification)
  • Complete health preparations
  • Prepare your Visa Application
  • Study or practice the language of your host country
  • Learn more about your host country
  • Apply for a deferment of your Student Loans

Obtain a Passport 

Apply for a passport if you do not have one, or check the validity of your current passport and apply for a renewal if necessary. You must have a valid passport for the entire duration of your participation in the WorldTeach program. You should obtain a valid passport at least two months prior to departure to allow time for visa applications. If you are a US citizen, ask at your local Post Office for a passport application form. Allow 6-8 weeks to obtain a new or renewed passport. More information on how to obtain a passport can be found here.

Arrange your funding

Begin to fundraise, or plan how you will otherwise meet the cost of your WorldTeach program. Volunteer Commitments are due in full one month prior to departure. We highly encourage you to do some fundraising to help meet the volunteer commitment – it’s a great way to get others involved in your service commitment, and can be a fun and rewarding process. For ideas and examples of how other WorldTeach volunteers have raised their commitment, go to our Fundraising page, and download a copy of our Volunteer Fundraising Guide.

Pay the $350 payment and complete TEFL Pre-Departure Packet (for those participating in WT TEFL Certification)

To make your $350 payment online, please click the “Donate/Pay” button at the top of our homepage.  In the “Donation Specified For” field, select “$350 payment for TEFL Certification”.  Complete the rest of the form and submit it for processing.  If paying by check, be sure to include “TEFL Certification” in the memo line.

After submitting your deposit, you must observe an ESL classroom for 14 hours and complete the required TEFL Pre-Departure Packet; this packet will be included in your confirmation materials.

Click here for more information on the WorldTeach TEFL Program.

Complete health preparations

Schedule a physical exam for 2-3 months prior to departure (or in time for your visa application).

Arrange to get the recommended immunizations and blood tests, as well as prescriptions for any special medication you will need to take with you. The Center for Disease Control has an informative website about travel. Also, we suggest you discuss malaria medication with your doctor if you are going to a country with risk of malaria. WorldTeach does not have a medical doctor on staff, so we are not qualified to give you any specific medical recommendations.

Read over the health insurance policy provided by WorldTeach (brochure contained on your ‘My Docs’ page) so you are aware of your overseas coverage and limitations. For safety reasons all WorldTeach volunteers are insured under the WorldTeach group health insurance policy; it is not optional. Consider maintaining your current health insurance as a supplement to that provided by WorldTeach, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Prepare your Visa Application (Note: this only applies to some countries.)

Visa application requirements vary by country, and may require your passport, a police clearance certificate (verifying that you have no criminal record), a health certificate often including reports of a recent HIV test, two passport photographs, a letter of good conduct from your last employer, and completed visa application forms. The WorldTeach program managers will help you through the visa application process. Please read and carefully follow the specific instructions provided for your program (provided by WorldTeach after your acceptance).

Study or practice the language of your host country

You will receive language training during orientation at the beginning of your program, but any exposure or practice you can gain before departure will help you pick up and improve your language more quickly. You might want to enroll in a class, practice yourself using tapes, or find a language-exchange partner to practice conversation.

Learn more about your host country

Do as much research as you can on the history, culture, politics, and current social issues of your country of service.

Apply for a deferment of your Student Loans (if necessary)

Contact your loan company for an application form (for deferment due to economic hardship or full-time voluntary service). Complete your section of the form then mail it to WorldTeach for verification. Allow at least one month for processing and mailing.