Supporting the independent education community


Q. Is there an age limit for teachers applying for an overseas exchange?

Age restrictions do not apply to teachers applying for an exchange. However, you must have taught for a minimum of five years to be eligible for the IEU Teacher Exchange Program (as required by the overseas exchange and registration authorities).

Q. What are my chances of getting an exchange?

The IEU cannot guarantee that every applicant will be offered an exchange. The chances of obtaining an exchange are totally dependent on whether a teacher on the other side of the world who teaches the same subjects and age groups as our applicant wants to exchange to a school in NSW. Obviously this is an area we have absolutely no control over. As a general rule, at least half of the teachers who apply for an exchange are made an offer. A high proportion of these accepted by each party and result in a successful exchange for both the teachers and school communities. Applicants should be prepared to accept an exchange in a government school and not limit themselves to independent schools or colleges.

Q. Do I still get paid from my home employer while on exchange?

Yes. Whilst on an exchange your home employer is responsible for payment of your salary. Arrangements need to be made to access these funds from overseas for the duration of the exchange.

Q. I share a house with another teacher. Can I still be considered for an exchange?

While we recommend that teachers offer accommodation for the sole use of their exchange partner, it is possible that the overseas teacher may also share their house and be willing to share a house while on exchange. However, if the teacher has their own accommodation and is not prepared to share while on exchange, the teacher here must be prepared to offer a house or unit for the sole use of the exchange teacher. We recommend that teachers stipulate the type of accommodation they are prepared to offer an exchange teacher when they submit their exchange application.

Q. Can teachers with a family apply for an exchange?

Single teachers, married teachers and teachers with children are all encouraged to apply for an exchange. Many families have successfully exchanged to Canada and the United Kingdom. It is wonderful chance for teachers and their families to experience another culture.

Q. When will I find out if I have an exchange?

In the majority of cases, applicants can expect to receive an offer from March onwards. Where available, applicants have generally received an offer from the overseas authorities before the end of the Northern Hemisphere school year (late June to mid July). This timeframe enables each party sufficient time to consider the overseas application and for the respective schools to approve the match. It is possible to receive an offer at a later stage in the year, but this lessens the time available to approve and organise the exchange. This can also cause problems with obtaining visas or entry clearance from the relevant authorities.

Q. Can I say no to an exchange if it's not what I want? Will I still be considered for other exchanges after I say no to an offer?

There are many circumstances where more information is required from the overseas applicant before an offer can be accepted by either of the parties. The applicant's principal has the right to accept or decline an exchange proposal but will generally discuss the proposal with the applicant before making this decision.

The applicant ultimately has the right to accept or refuse an exchange proposal. However, unless there is a problem with the proposed exchange position or accommodation that cannot be renegotiated (for example, unsuitable accommodation - where there is a family involved and the accommodation on offer is inadequate) applicants are recommended to accept the exchange proposal.

Q. What if I go on exchange and find out that I don't like the school? Can I return to Australia if I want to?

Once a teacher has committed themself to an exchange, the option of returning home part of the way through the exchange is not recommended. As a condition of accepting the exchange, if one of the parties wants to return home before the completion of the exchange year and their exchange partner wants to stay, the teacher returning home would be on leave without pay for the remainder of the exchange period. They would be required to negotiate moving back to their home with their exchange partner and in return would be required to provide alternative furnished accommodation for their exchange partner. The teacher's home school would be required to finance a replacement teacher in the overseas school. A significant amount of communication and negotiation between the parties is required before this option can be considered.