Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program 2019/20

Fulbright TEA brings international teachers to the United States for a six-week program that offers academic seminars for professional development at a host university. Participants observe classrooms and share their expertise with teachers and students at the host university and at local secondary schools.

The Fulbright TEA Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.

2019-2020 Program Overview for International Teachers

Program Overview

The Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (Fulbright TEA) is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  The 2019-2020 program will mark the twenty-third year of the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (formerly the Teaching Excellence Awards program) and the second year the program will be known as the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program.  Eligible countries for the Fulbright TEA Program Media Literacy program are Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Teachers are nominated to participate in the Fulbright TEA Program based on their educational experience, academic training, leadership and professional experience. Final selection of Fulbright TEA teachers is made by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). The FFSB is an independent, presidentially appointed board that has oversight responsibility for all Fulbright academic exchange programs.


  • English or English as a Foreign Language
  • Language/Literature of your home country
  • Social Studies (civics, history, geography, global studies, law, etc.)
  • Media studies, communications, journalism, or related fields


Applicants must:

  • Be current secondary school-level*, full-time teachers of English, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), the language and literature of your home country, social studies, civics, history, global studies, media studies, communications, journalism, law, or related fields at institutions serving primarily a local population;
  • Have earned a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent;
  • Have completed at least five years of full-time teaching by the start of the program; Reside in the country of citizenship at the time of application and of program participation;
  • Earn a minimum score of 500 on the paper based TOEFL or an equivalent English language examination (please note that you do not need to take the TOEFL test at the time of application – we will organize taking of the test for all semi-finalists);
  • Have experience or demonstrated interest in the field of 21st century media literacy and critical thinking;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to continue teaching after completion of the program; and
  • Have submitted a complete application.

* Secondary-level teachers include both middle and high school teachers serving students between approximately 12 and 18 years of age. Teachers responsible for teaching additional grade levels must teach middle or high school students more than 50% of their work time in order to be eligible for the program.

The Fulbright TEA Program promotes diversity in the classroom and in learning. The Fulbright TEA Program supports inclusion and strongly encourages teachers with disabilities to apply.

The Fulbright TEA Program is an upper level university or graduate level academic program for practicing teachers. Educational administrators (such as representatives or officials of the Ministry of Education) and school administrators who teach less than fifty percent of their time, full-time teacher trainers, university faculty, private English Language tutors, and teachers from schools primarily serving expatriates are not eligible.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents are not eligible to apply.

Staff or families of staff at a U.S. Embassy are not eligible to apply.  Current IREX employees and consultants and their immediate family members (spouses, parents, children, and siblings) are not eligible to compete in any IREX-implemented grant programs, either as individuals or as the responsible party representing an institutional applicant.

We do not discriminate against grant applicants because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability or any other protected characteristic as established by U.S. law.


IREX reserves the right to verify all the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.

Program Components

Teachers who are selected to participate in the Fulbright TEA Program will:

  1. Participate in advanced undergraduate or graduate level classes at a U.S. host university.
  2. Observe classes, co-teach, and share their expertise with U.S. colleagues in U.S. secondary schools.
  3. Participate in an online professional learning community with other participants to share best practices and other elements of host and home country educational systems; and
  4. Take part in other education and cultural activities while on program in the United States.

Upon returning home, teachers will be expected to share the knowledge and experience gained on the program with teachers and students in their home schools and within their communities.

University Coursework:

Weekly Seminars: Teachers will participate in weekly seminars at their host university featuring presentations and discussions led by university staff, faculty members, and invited educational experts. The academic seminars will focus on new teaching methodologies, content-based instruction, project-based learning, infusing thematic topics into curriculum, lesson planning, and instructional technology training for teachers. Topics of seminars may include recognizing bias/propaganda, stereotypes, and misinformation; strategies for improving students’ critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills; how media literacy promotes civic engagement / the role of media in democratic societies; and fostering cyber safety and digital citizenship in the classroom.

U.S. School Placements: Teachers will be placed in a U.S. secondary school during the U.S. program, where they will observe classes, co-teach, and share their expertise and information about their home countries and schools. Each Fulbright teacher will be paired with a U.S. partner educator at their assigned school to facilitate sharing of best practices between the teachers. Host university staff will identify schools and partner teachers near the university campus that are appropriate to each grantee’s teaching discipline(s).

 Online Professional Learning Community: Each Fulbright teacher will participate in a virtual community with other international educators to collaborate and share best practices about education and leadership in the participating countries.

Provisions of the Fellowship

  • J-1 visa support;
  • A pre-departure orientation held in participant’s home country;
  • Round-trip airfare to and within the U.S.;
  • A Welcome Program in Washington, D.C.;
  • Academic program fees;
  • Housing (generally shared with other program fellows) and meals;
  • Accident and sickness health care coverage (does not cover pre-existing conditions);
  • Transportation to the practicum school (as needed);
  • A daily allowance for incidentals during the university academic program;
  • A professional development allowance;
  • A baggage allowance;
  • An end-of-program workshop in Washington, D.C.; and
  • The opportunity to apply for alumni small grants for alumni in good standing.

Selection Process and Criteria

Fulbright TEA Fellows will be selected through a merit-based open competition based on eligibility and the criteria below. Top candidates will be interviewed by an interview panel, and must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or equivalent English test, or provide valid results from within the past year (test date no earlier than March 2018).

Selection Criteria:

  • Demonstrated commitment to teaching in the field of secondary education;
  • Demonstrated commitment or interest in promoting media literacy and critical thinking in the classroom;
  • Demonstrated leadership potential;
  • Professional and educational experience and achievements;
  • Potential for developing long-term linkages between U.S. and home country educational institutions and schools;
  • Preparedness (including maturity, flexibility, and ability to function independently) for an intensive U.S.-based training program with very limited free time for personal travel or sightseeing;
  • Willingness and capacity to work and live collaboratively with international peers to foster a positive learning community for professional development;
  • Articulated ideas for applying program experience to improving secondary education (and media literacy, as applicable) in the home country;
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and effectively;
  • Oral and written English language skills sufficient to manage coursework, participate in specialized seminars, and deliver presentations in U.S. schools (a minimum paper-based or equivalent TOEFL score of 500 is required for Fulbright TEA participation);
  • Applicants who have had few or no opportunities to travel to the U.S. will be given priority;
  • Preference will be given to applicants who are members of or who work with students from under-served communities or traditionally underrepresented groups including but not limited to women, racial, ethnic and religious minorities, people with disabilities, and the LGBTI community.
  • Preference will also be given to applicants who have not previously received a Fulbright grant.

How to Apply

Application deadline: February 5, 2019
The online application is available at: https://oas.irex.org/fulbrightteaml/Logon  (Download the Guide for the applicants here)
For more information visit the program website at https://www.irex.org/fulbright-tea, or contact the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Office at BelgradeFulbright@state.gov