The applications for U.S. host schools for the 2023-2024 academic year are now CLOSED.



The Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP) is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and is implemented by American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS. This program seeks to strengthen foreign language instruction at U.S. schools, while also providing the selected exchange teachers the opportunity to learn about U.S. teaching methodologies, culture, and society. Exchange teachers will teach Mandarin Chinese or Modern Standard Arabic and will also serve as a cultural resource in the host school and community. 



Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of The U.S. Department of State 

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, and peaceful relations, as mandated by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. 

ECA accomplishes its mission through a range of programs based on the benefits of mutual understanding, international educational and cultural exchange, and leadership development. ECA engages youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders in many fields in the United States and more than 160 countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges. Striving to reflect the diversity of the United States and global society, ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. 

ECA exchange program alumni encompass over one million people around the world, including more than 75 Nobel Laureates and nearly 450 current and former heads of state and government. 

American Councils for International Education 

American Councils for International Education is a premier, international nonprofit creating educational opportunities that prepare individuals and institutions to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. Through academic exchanges, overseas language immersion, data-focused research, and educational development programs, American Councils designs and implements innovative programs that broaden individual perspectives, increase knowledge, and deepen understanding. A leader in international education, academic exchange, language acquisition and assessment, and research, American Councils is helping to build a world of globally competent citizens, successful institutions, and responsible nations. 


The webinar schedule for the upcoming year is below.

November 16, 2022 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
December 1, 2022 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
December 7, 2022 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
December 14, 2022 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
January 5, 2023 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

In the meantime, please refer to the following TCLP informational webinars. You can learn about the program and how hosting an exchange teacher can benefit you and your students.

November 16, 2022, with Mentor teacher alumna Coniell Bursac. Please click here to view the recorded webinar video. 

December 7, 2022, with Mentor teacher alumna Roxana Rivero. Please click here to view the recorded webinar video. 




TCLP is funded through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State and provides three possible funding levels for host schools. More slots are available for partially funded options.  

Program Provisions Chart

The exchange teachers will complete the virtual or in-person Welcome Orientation and travel to their host schools by early- to mid-August 2023. At the end of the host school’s academic year, exchange teachers will be required to return to their home countries; their exchange period will not be extended. 


Please note that the school can apply and be selected to host a different teacher for two to three additional years, depending on district language requirements, if applying for a fully funded exchange teacher. 



Exchange Teacher Requirements: Exchange teachers assigned to the U.S. host schools will meet the following program requirements: 

  • Be a teacher from Egypt, Morocco, or Taiwan; 

  • Currently teach Mandarin/Arabic/English as a Foreign Language in a K-12 school in his/her home country; 

  • Have at least four years of classroom teaching experience; 

  • Have at least a bachelor’s degree; and 

  • Be proficient in written and spoken English. 


U.S. Host School Requirements: U.S. primary and secondary schools that meet the following program requirements are eligible to apply to host an exchange teacher:  

  • Have an existing Mandarin or Arabic foreign language program or want to start a Mandarin or Arabic language program; 

  • Have a detailed plan for the exchange teacher to strengthen the host school’s Mandarin or Arabic language program through independent teaching or team-teaching; 

  • Provide the exchange teacher between 10 and 20 scheduled contact hours per week to leave time in his/her schedule for outreach presentations in colleagues’ classes and area schools, designing curricula, and extracurricular activities. TCLP defines contact hours as those hours when the teacher is actually teaching students during scheduled class periods; 

  • Provide the exchange teacher with professional development opportunities that are available to the host school’s own faculty, including new teacher workshops/orientations, planning days before school starts, in-service trainings, and faculty meetings;  

  • Provide the exchange teacher with opportunities to share information about his/her home country in the host school and community, and to learn about U.S. education, culture, and society;   

  • Provide a host school-based mentor teacher to support the program’s implementation beginning in April 2023 and assist the exchange teacher throughout his/her stay in the United States (please see additional details below);  

  • Designate a community liaison to assist the exchange teacher’s transition into the community. This should not be the same person as the mentor teacher or school administrator; 

  • If teaching certification documents are required for the exchange teacher to work in the school, the host school will cover all costs associated with receiving teaching certification; 

  • Have a plan for the exchange teacher’s logistical support throughout the year that includes: 

    • For fully funded exchange teachers: Arrange housing accommodations (an apartment, a rented room in a house, or a homestay) in the host community with the understanding that rent and other living expenses will be paid by the exchange teacher (who will receive a housing allowance).  

    • For a partially funded exchange teacher: Arrange and pay for housing accommodations (an apartment, a rented room in a house, or a homestay) in the host community.  

  • Facilitate transportation arrangements that will enable the exchange teacher to live independently within the community; and 

  • Participate in TCLP mandatory trainings and workshops:  

    • Host School Online Course: five modules for school administrators and mentor teachers in April-May 2023;

    • Host School Orientation: a two-day virtual or in-person workshop in Washington, DC for host school mentor teachers in early August 2023. During this event, mentor teachers will meet their exchange teachers and participate in orientation activities together in person (or virtually if in-person gatherings are not feasible);  

    • Fall Workshop: a two-day workshop in late October 2023 for exchange and mentor teachers in person (or virtually if in-person gatherings are not feasible).  


Mentor Teachers: Schools must designate an experienced teacher to serve as a mentor to the exchange teacher to facilitate the exchange teacher’s success in a new education system. The required qualifications for the mentor teacher include:  

  • Have a minimum of five years of full-time teaching experience; 

  • Is currently a classroom teacher in the same host school (principals and administrators should not be assigned the role of mentor); 

  • Have the time and willingness to provide guidance on school policies and best practices for teaching, classroom management, curriculum development, assessment, and school norms; and 

  • Meet at least once a week with the exchange teacher to help him/her acclimatize to the host school through establishing networks within the faculty and participating in extracurricular activities.  


The ideal mentor teacher would also: 

  • Be a foreign language teacher; 

  • Have a genuine interest in cross-cultural exchange; and 

  • Team-teach with the exchange teacher and observe his/her classroom. 

Mentor teachers can receive professional development hours for each month of their participation.  


U.S. Host School Selection: The U.S. Department of State and American Councils will convene an independent panel that will review host school applications based on the following: 

  • The academic program plan;  

  • The school’s commitment to the program;  

  • The presence of diverse student and community populations with whom the exchange teacher can interact;  

  • Proposed teaching assignments and the exchange teacher’s support during the transitional period and throughout academic year;  

  • Quality of proposed mentor teacher;  

  • Community and logistical support of the exchange teacher, including cultural exchange opportunities for both the exchange teacher and the host community; and  

  • The school’s sustainability plan for its Arabic/Mandarin language program. 

Following independent evaluation, semi-finalist host schools’ mentor teachers and administrative representatives will participate in web-based interviews in which they will discuss their program vision, support strategies, teaching and outreach schedule design, and post-exchange collaboration. Schools will be notified of final selection results by the end of March 2023. 



  • Application deadline: January 23, 2023 

  • Notification of program semi-finalists: Late February 2023   

  • Semi-finalist virtual interviews: March 2023 

  • Notification of program finalists: Late March 2023 

  • Exchange program: August 2023 – June 2024 



Applications must be received online by American Councils no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on January 23, 2023. 

A complete application package includes: 

  • Complete application form; 

  • Resumes for the administrator, mentor teacher, and community liaison (2-page maximum for each); 

  • Signed Application Certification Form; and

  • Signed Administrative Approval Form. 

Please note: 

  • Incomplete application packages will not be accepted. 

  • Additional materials (such as student work or school publications) should NOT be included in the package. 

  • Materials that require technical equipment (such as audio or video files) will not be reviewed by the selection committee. 


Additional Information: If you have further questions about the application process, please contact TCLP staff at, or by phone at 202-833-7522.