4 English Teaching Assistant Award
Accepted Degree Levels
Grant PeriodFall Start
Grant Length9 Months
Belarus is located between Poland to the west, Russia to the east, and Ukraine to the south, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Belarus is a sovereign country whose people have a unique national identity and are struggling to secure democratic changes and fundamental freedoms under an authoritarian regime. Since the fraudulent presidential election of August 9, 2020, a longtime autocrat has clung to power while large-scale peaceful protests have ensued for several months as never before in Belarus' recent history. The Belarusian authorities' ongoing violent crackdown, which has led to the imprisonment of thousands, and the protesters' shifting tactics have created stalemate conditions. The United States, along with the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom, imposed additional sanctions on senior Belarusian authorities and entities responsible for this oppression. The Lukashenka regime actively hinders, harrasses, and at times arrests Belarusian citizens that the regime views as opposing it, and people are under constant surveillance. Consequently, academic freedom, as understood and practiced in the West, is much more restricted in Belarus. Teachers and students are prohibited from exercising their civil liberties both on and off campus and many have been jailed for attempting to exercise their basic liberties.
The system of higher education is state-run and reflects its Soviet roots with little substantial change since the fall of Communism. The Belarusian Ministry of Education governs 42 public (State) and 9 private (non-State) higher education institutions that operate under unified standards of teaching, management, assessment, and research. Most of the higher education institutions are in the capital city of Minsk. The academic year runs from September 1 through June 30 and is traditionally divided into 2 semesters, with the second semester beginning in early February. However, in the fall semester, lectures are usually scheduled between September and mid-December, and the spring semester, between early February and May.
There have been few efforts at educational reform over the last several years. In May 2015, Belarus was awarded membership in the European Higher Education Area conditioned on fulfillment of a road map emphasizing not only Bologna degree structures, but also academic freedom, university autonomy and democratic and civic values. Belarus took certain efforts to bring its degree programs into compliance with European standards, yet the Soviet Union's legacy is still apparent in the country's higher education sphere. These and other issues must be resolved before Belarus is made a full member of the Bologna process.
Outside of academia, Belarus offers ample opportunities for recreation. Belarus has developed infrastructure and a high quality of life with rich cultural offerings. The Internet is cheap and fast, except of course when the government cuts it off for reasons of political control. The air is relatively clean, despite Belarus having received significant radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and many natural areas remain pristine. Minsk is a great jumping off point for weekend trips to regional capitals, such as Kyiv, Warsaw, and Vilnius, which are reachable by car (although COVID restrictions earlier significantly disrupted travel temporarily).
A Fulbright placement in Belarus is a great opportunity to explore this vibrant country, contribute to the development of its educational system, and engage with partners across the country. Local people are genuinely interested in interacting with Americans and learning more about the American experience.
NOTE: The U.S. Fulbright Student Program in Belarus was suspended in September 2021 and remains suspended until further notice. Please contact IIE for program updates.
The academic year at most institutions is from September 1 to June 30th.
Grant Length: 9 months.
All grantees are required to attend a pre-departure orientation in the United States in June or July as a condition of their grant.
Well-rounded, articulate, fluent English speakers at all degree levels with an interest in international education and the initiative to teach conversational English will be considered. Candidates with degrees in English, education, or TEFL/applied linguistics are preferred. Successful candidates will not just be teaching English, but also will help to explain the U.S. to local citizens who have little contextual understanding. Previous teaching experience is not required, but is helpful.
Ideal applicants are committed to community engagement outside the classroom, willing to lead and take part in extra-curricular activities and clubs. Successful ETAs are self-starters who are proactive, resilient and seek flexible solutions to challenges.
Accepted Degree Levels
Foreign Language Proficiency
Additional Information: Although all class teaching is in English, Russian language proficiency is necessary for daily communication. Knowledge of Belarusian is encouraged, but not required.
- University/Post-Secondary Institution
Grantees are placed primarily at universities, but may be placed in high schools or other venues where English language instruction is needed. Affiliation is often arranged at institutions outside the capital city of Minsk. Assignments will depend on the respective schools' needs and will consist of about 16-20 academic hours per week of teaching English under the supervision of an experienced English instructor, independently or with a co-teacher. Grantees will teach and will serve as a resource for conversation, vocabulary, and reading and writing courses. Grantees may also be involved with some educational advising and outreach. Extracurricular activities such as working with the school's English clubs, community and volunteer projects are encouraged.
- Regional City
Grantees are expected to engage in other activities related to their professional, career, and/or educational interests. This may be an independent study/research project or other activity that will not conflict with assigned responsibilities at the host institution and will not conflict with official United States Government policy concerning Belarus. Applicants should include a brief description of their supplementary project in their Statement of Grant Purpose.
Belarusian rental market offers excellent options of modern, well-equipped apartments. U.S. grantees should consider living downtown in an area close to their host institutions and/or subway lines. The average monthly rate for one- or two-bedroom apartment is about $800 in the capital center; and about $500 in the regional centers. The U.S. Embassy may offer a list of real estate agents in Minsk or host institution representatives in the provinces, who may help identify housing options.
Dependent support is available. However, an unmarried or a same-sex partner is not legally considered a dependent in Belarus, and therefore will not be able to obtain a long-term visa for the whole period of the fellowship, unless he/she has a job offer or plans to study at a Belarusian educational institution.