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A Conversation Coach is an English tutor who lives with a host family and tutors the children for 15 hours per week in exchange for accommodations and all meals. The ideal Conversation Coach candidate is willing to become a participating member of the host family and has a genuine enthusiasm to work with children in a home setting.
As an English Conversation Coach in Germany, your tutoring schedule and responsibilities will vary depending on the needs of your host family, but you can expect to provide English instruction for about 3 hours a day during the weekdays. Most of our Conversation Coaches live in areas close to city centers like Cologne, Bonn and Berlin, but we offer placements throughout the country. Because you'll only be on the job for 15 hours per week, you'll have plenty of time to travel this beautiful, diverse country and make German friends!
2016 Program Dates
|Start In||Apply By|
|August or September||Monday, May 31, 2016|
|October, November, or December||Monday, August 1, 2016|
Early submissions are strongly encouraged.
To apply you'll create an online account and complete a few simple web forms. You will also need to upload documents including a character reference, resume, and any relevant certifications. When you're ready, you will pay a $250 deposit towards your program fee (refundable in the unlikely event that we're unable to place you). The balance will not be due until we confirm your placement with a host family.
When we receive your deposit we'll unlock your application so you can review everything once more and submit it. Then, we'll contact you for an informal Skype interview before confirming your acceptance and sending your application overseas.
Once we've sent your application abroad, it typically takes 4-6 weeks to receive a suitable host family file. It can take longer if you've applied more than three months in advance. We will notify you as soon as a placement has been found so you can connect with the family over email and/or video chat to make sure that you are both happy with the match. Once confirmed, we will provide all of the next steps on when to book your flight, where to purchase insurance, and how to prepare to be a Conversation Coach and live abroad.
Your host family will pick you up from the airport or train station. They'll bring you to their home and will help to get you oriented to your new environment and your host children. You'll also work with your family to set up a tutoring schedule and will discuss how to get around the neighborhood, where to go and what to see! Throughout your program, our international cooperator will be there to make sure your transition is smooth and fun.
Costs to Consider
Please be prepared to cover airfare to and from the U.S.
You must have insurance that covers repatriation and emergency medical evacuation.
- Personal Spending Money
For independent travel/trips, any optional extra classes, social time with friends, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time for me to submit my application?
The best time to start is the early fall (September/October) when Germany's school year begins and the demand for English tutors is high. The beginning of the calendar year (January/February) is another popular time to start, but we place Conversation Coaches throughout the year. You and your host family will agree upon your exact program dates together.
Do I need to have professional teaching experience or a TEFL certificate to apply?
You do not need to have professional teaching experience, teaching certification or a degree in education to apply. Instead, we require you to show that you have experience working with children and are able to informally plan activities to engage your host children.
If you are interested to earn a TEFL certificate, especially if you plan to professionally teach abroad in the future, we encourage you to register for our TEFL course.
Do I need to have child care-related experience to apply?
We like to see that you've had some experience working with children in some capacity. This can include babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids, etc. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please be sure to highlight this in your application.
Do my references need to be sent directly to your organization?
Most applicants collect their own references and upload them directly to their online InterExchange accounts. However, if your referrer would prefer to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to our general email at email@example.com.
Does the $250 deposit secure the application?
While we can never 100% guarantee placement, placement is likely as long as you submit your application about 3-4 months in advance of when you'd like to start. We have lots of host families who register all throughout the year specifically looking for American tutors (Americans are in high demand) so it would be very unlikely that you would not find a placement.
If I am not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
In the unlikely event that we are unable to place you, we will refund your $250 deposit. We will keep you posted throughout the placement process.
How far in advance can I submit my application?
Most applicants submit their applications about 3-4 months in advance. Please feel free to submit your application up to 6 months in advance if you'd like, which will give us more time to find the most suitable match for you.
Can I make a location request?
Placements are typically in the suburbs of large cities like Cologne and Berlin, but we do have placements all over Germany. You may make requests to be placed in a specific city or region. Please write in your location preferences anywhere on your Program Specific Application. We'll do our best, but location requests cannot be guaranteed. Actual placement location will depend on the families looking for Conversation Coaches at the time.
What are host families like?
Our international cooperator screens all of our host families for safety very similarly to how we screen our tutors. Just as our applicants here in the U.S. must, all families submit applications and references, have an interview and pay a program fee.
The make-up of our German host families varies, but they're well known for being welcoming and cultured. They're known to enjoy discussing German life and to be interested in the American way of doing things. Most of our families are middle class and have children in either elementary or middle school.
Can I be placed with or close to a friend?
If you've made any special requests to be placed close to a friend, would like to be in a particular region, or have any host family/children preferences, we will take them into consideration but cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests. We do not allow multiple placements in one host family home.
Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?
You will definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we've presented to you are not a good fit. Let us know and we'll be happy to continue looking for another family until you feel like we've found the right one! It's important to us that you feel comfortable with your host family match, and we'll do all we can to make sure that happens.
If I decide not want to work with a presented family, am I eligible for a refund?
In terms of receiving a refund of your deposit, you would only be eligible for a full refund if we were not able to find a family for you after three weeks to your latest indicated start date. The stipulations of our refund policy can be found here.
Is there Internet access in every household?
The majority of our families, even those in rural areas have access to the Internet in their homes. The basics like electricity, water, and heat go without saying. In a rural area, it may be more difficult to access public transportation to get into town, but you will always have the option to discuss with your host family how they get around and stay social in a non-urban environment.
What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?
If any issues arise, you will want to contact our international cooperator immediately so they can mediate the situation. If things really are not working out, we will do our best to move you to another family in a timely manner.
What does the visa process entail?
U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Schengen area and are permitted to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. You will simply enter the Schengen area (which includes Germany) with your valid U.S. passport. For more information on the Schengen area, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
Do I need to know how to speak German?
No. You will not need to know German, nor will you be required to take German classes abroad (although you are welcome to if you want of course!) Most of our host families speak pretty good English so it's usually not a problem for our tutors to communicate with their host family.
Is there an orientation or resources to help start my program?
While there is no formal orientation, you will receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. You will also receive lots of Teach English resources via the InterExchange Teach English Guide, sample lesson packs for beginner, intermediate and advanced English learners, and a Game Pack to keep things fun and engaging with your host children.
Will I have vacation time?
Because the program is relatively short-term (1-3 months), you will not be allowed designated vacation time. However, if you would like to take a few days to travel or unwind, please let your family know well in advance. They will usually be able to accommodate your request to take a few days off. Remember that your host family is your FIRST priority, so try to schedule your free time activities around your tutoring schedule.
Can I earn money on the program?
Since you'll be traveling as a tourist on a cultural exchange program with an emphasis on your tutoring and your relationship with the host family, you will not be able to earn a salary or stipend.
Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?
Most people either purchase a cheap phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM card for national calls, or simply use their existing phone with a German SIM card purchased in Germany. However, if you're planning to contact people back at home, we recommend just using Skype or Whatsapp on your current phone with wifi. You can find more information here.
Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?
Although it is not legally necessary, it is generally more cost efficient to book a roundtrip rather than two one-way tickets. However, if you'd simply like to purchase a one-way ticket going into Germany and then purchase your return ticket at a later date, this is totally acceptable as well.
Will I be able to connect with other Conversation Coaches in Germany?
Absolutely! We'll connect you with other tutors throughout the country at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for our InterExchange participants in Austria and Germany. Our in-country agents will also help you connect.
What our participants are saying
It is really neat to be living with locals! I have learned so much from them. They offer insights and advice that I would not get otherwise, and living with them is a real insight into German culture. Margaret
Whenever I need the help, I can count on Shadi to always answer my emails within 24 hours during the weekdays. She remembered me whenever I called and I truly felt like I was part of the InterExchange family. Especially when I received my InterExchange shirt and bag with a small postcard included. It felt personal and throughout my whole application experience, I felt completely assisted and never lost. I have emailed multiple times and I received much more help and happiness than I expected. I love InterExchange and soon I plan to use InterExchange again and travel the world with amazing assistance. Jennifer
Working abroad is one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had. The opportunity to work and travel and be immersed in a beautiful culture was gratifying and meaningful. Helping others learn English, a language they highly value, was very rewarding and fun! Crystal