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Frequently Asked Questions

Below please find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Working Worldwide Program.

Special Notice on China

Due to extended timelines for governmental processes and approvals to legally work in China, we will not be moving forward with placements in China for the 2023-2024 application cycle. Placements in Kosovo are still proceeding as planned, and interested applicants are encouraged to apply. 

We are planning to move forward with placements in China for 2024-2025, with the process beginning in Fall 2023.

Do you need to be a U.S. citizen to participate in Working Worldwide?


Participants do not need to be U.S. citizens. However, for non-U.S. citizen applicants, there may be additional visa regulations, costs, and paperwork associated that the applicant will be responsible for obtaining. While our office can provide general assistance, the applicant is ultimately responsible for their visa and other work-related requirements as outlined by the Kosovo government. Additionally, participants need to be native speakers of English or have developed near-native proficiency in English. Many of our partner organizations rely on participants’ English language fluency, and thus participants need to demonstrate near-native proficiency in English. 



Participants do not need to be U.S. citizens. However, in order for our partner schools in China to secure work visas for our teachers they must be native speakers of English or have developed near-native proficiency in English AND hold a passport from a country where English is widely considered a dominant language. For non-U.S. citizen applicants, there also may be additional visa regulations, costs, and paperwork associated that the applicant will be responsible for 

It is important to note that while nearly all of the placements made through the program have been for English teachers (some of whom have come from countries other than the U.S., such as India, Trinidad and the Philippines) we have had a few teachers from other countries teach their native language that also taught at our partner schools (such as Japanese, Russian and Spanish). 

What is the application and placement process?

Please visit our How to Apply page for detailed instructions on the application.

Working Worldwide typically places participants in 3 cities in China (Guilin, Chongqing, and Shijiazhuang) and in one city in Kosovo (Pristina). Maintaining such a variety of relationships allows for diverse placement options for program participants.

Applicants are asked to consider their desired size of city and proximity to other program participants. Additionally, for Working Worldwide: China placements, applicants are asked to consider the level of students they prefer to teach (middle school, high school, or college). For Working Worldwide: Kosovo placements, applicants are asked to consider their preferred industry or professional interests (marketing, public relations, data analytics, etc.). 

Applicants sharing more details about their goals in participating in the program allows program staff to determine which placement is most appropriate for each applicant. While individual participants' preferences guide the placement process, the needs of the entire group of participants, as well as those of our partner institutions, are also taken into consideration. Those applicants with previous experience directly pertaining to the placement specifications will be given priority. 

What is the timeline for the entire program from application to departure?

Click here to see the Program Timeline.

Additionally, for placements in China (no placements in China for 2023-2024), please be aware that the TEFL Training does begin in April, prior to the end of the semester in order to accomplish the 120-hour training by early June. Please check the calendar to ensure that you are able to attend ALL sessions.

What are the program fees and what do they cover?

Kosovo: $975 (2023-2024)

This fee includes:

  • Placement recommendation and facilitation of communication with participants' future employer
  • Guidance on work residence application process
  • Brief cultural orientation and event(s) will be organized with the Kosovo Consulate in Des Moines and Drake Global Engagement Office as appropriate.
  • Enrollment in the US Embassy's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)


Are there additional expenses I would need to prepare for before leaving the U.S.?

There are some additional expenses participants should plan to cover prior to receiving their first paycheck, following their first month of employment. There is also a slight variation in which (if any) of the post-arrival expenses are reimbursed by a participant's placement institution, and a range of how much participants spend on household and daily expenses.

Apart from the program fee, participants should be prepared to cover the following expenses prior to departure:

  • Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations Background Check--$15
  • Passport, if needed—$110
  • Visa—$140 (China), 40 Euros (Kosovo)
  • One-way airline ticket to China/Kosovo—Approx. $1,000 (Working Worldwide: China - reimbursed by school)
  • Medical exams, pre- and post-departure—$50
  • Vaccinations, if needed—Approx. $100
  • Travel medical insurance—~$100-200
  • Residency permit—$80 (Working Worldwide: China - may be reimbursed by school)
  • Excess baggage fee—$50 (Working Worldwide: China - may be reimbursed by school)
  • Initial household expenses—Approximately $250
  • First month’s expenses—Approximately $250

Total—Approximately $2,000

Does the program staff make my visa and travel arrangements?

Program participants are provided all necessary materials required to apply for their entry visas as well as instruction on the application during the program training and they themselves work with the Program Coordinator to apply for their visas or residence permits.  Program participants are then responsible for arranging their own travel to the specified location once a visa has been secured. For Kosovo, participants will not apply for a residence permit until arriving in Kosovo. 

What are the terms of my employment?


In 2023-24, for 40 hours per week of work, our partners will offer:

  • Estimated 500 Euro monthly living stipend (salary)
    • This is typically enough to cover basic living expenses in shared accommodation in Kosovo.
  • Vacation and Sick Leave Benefits



In 2019-20, teachers averaged 15-17 hours per week, and generally received:

  • A salary of 4,000-5,000 RMB per month (approximately $575-$725)

  • Private, furnished housing

  • Emergency medical insurance

  • Reimbursement for airfare to and from China

  • An additional travel allowance of 1,100 RMB (approximately $160)
  • 4-6 week paid vacation between semesters

*Future China placements are expected to have similar terms.

What type of accommodations are provided?


Participants placed in Kosovo are responsible for securing their own housing. Participants’ on-site employers will likely assist participants in finding housing, yet individuals are ultimately responsible for housing and all associated fees. Monthly rent can range from 150 to 500 Euros. We provide this broad range as monthly rent costs vary widely depending on location, apartment size, amenities, and number of roommates (if any).



Participants placed in China are provided individual housing by their host institution as part of their compensation. While the quality of accommodations vary slightly between institutions, all housing includes private bathrooms, telephone, and television. Accommodations are comparable to those provided to foreign students or university faculty.

What kind of health or medical insurance is provided?


Participants are strongly encouraged to purchase major medical emergency coverage that will cover them throughout their entire term of employment in Kosovo. Participants' employers will not provide emergency medical coverage for partiicpants. Participants are encouraged to explore their current health insurance plan to check if it will have sufficient coverage for their time in Kosovo. 


Partner institutions provide emergency medical coverage for program participants and often do not cover expenses associated with routine illness. Partner institutions will provide an insurance policy to program participants. Program applicants are asked to provide information about special medical needs during the application process so that proper arrangements can be made with partner institutions to ensure medical care can be correctly administered in case of an emergency.

Beyond this emergency medical coverage, participants are encouraged to purchase additional major medical emergency coverage to supplement coverage not included by the partner institution. Participants are encouraged to explore their current health insurance plan to check if it will have sufficient coverage for their time in China. 


Will I be able to travel?


Program participants placed in Kosovo must adhere to the time off benefits as outlined in their contract with their partner institution. Drake University will work directly with the partner institution on this contract to determine fair and reasonable employment conditions and benefits. When taking any allotted time off, participants will need to work directly with their partner institution and receive approval prior to taking time off.


Program participants placed in China who teach for a year at a partner institution are provided a stipend (approximately $160) for travel during the interim Spring Festival break between semesters (mid-January to mid-February). Teachers are also often allowed to travel during national holidays in October and May.


How safe is it to work and live in China and Kosovo?


Though Kosovo has been an area of conflict in recent memory, it has since become a safe and stable country. The capital city, Pristina, maintains low crime rates, though petty theft is reported. As in any major city, foreigners are encouraged to exercise caution when out at night. 

For more information on safety in Kosovo, see the Departmen of State's Consular Information Sheet on Kosovo.


While crime rates in China are very low, and most foreigners report feeling physically very safe, depending on your location it is not uncommon for foreigners to be the target of pickpockets and other petty criminals when out in public (especially at tourists sites and markets). While some program participants live within the grounds of their host institutions, which are enclosed and guarded, or in dormitories or apartments that have additional guards, others are provided apartments outside of the school grounds. Much care is taken on behalf of the Foreign Affairs Offices of partner institutions to protect the safety of foreign teachers.
For more information on safety in China, see the Department of State’s Consular Information Sheet on P.R. China.

If I am graduating with students loans, will I be able to afford payments while in China or Kosovo?

All federally-guaranteed loans can be paid back on an income-based scale. Given the amount of compensation received through the Working Worldwide program, participants can most often either qualify for very low or no monthly payments, or apply to receive an economic hardship deferment from their lending institutions. This allows graduates to defer paying their student loans until after they return from the Working Worldwide program. However, applicants are encouraged to check the terms of their loan agreements and call their lending institutions to ensure they can receive such a payment schedule or deferment. Such deferment is rarely given for private loans.

Find more information about loan repayment options at the Federal Student Aid webpage.

Do I have to pay taxes on my earnings abroad?

Please visit the IRS website for more information.

Who do I contact with more questions?

If you have further questions or would like clarification about information found here, please email or call Global Engagement at (515) 271-2084. You may also stop by the Global Engagement Office, located in Cowles Library, open 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday. 

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