Summer is the perfect time to research and apply for a teacher travel grant. The key is to look in the right places and write a compelling application. Once you win an award, you might find yourself kayaking the length of the Mississippi River while developing a river ecology unit. (At least, that’s what one teacher did with a Fund for Teachers grant.)
To help you get started, here are some tips for writing winning proposals, a few inspiring articles, and a list of interesting travel grants that you might want to research or apply for this summer.
The Best Places to Look
Edutopia has covered travel grants in the past. Be sure to check out other content on the subject, including “Five-Minute Film Festival: Travel for Teachers” and “No-Cost Teacher Travel” for more grant-writing tips and funding sources.
Also, the Institute for International Education is an organization that anyone interested in educational travel should get to know. In addition to administering tons of interesting travel grant programs, the IIE is a source for research, policy updates, and opportunities for teachers and working professionals.
Some available grants and fellowships:
- Grosvenor Teacher Fellowships From National Geographic: Each year, National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions take K–12 geography teachers on expeditions around the world. In general, about 25 educators from the U.S. and Canada are selected for fellowship trips each year, and participants travel to exotic locales and participate in professional development and curriculum-building activities. Applications for 2018 expeditions open in November.
- Fund for Teachers Fellowships: Fund for Teachers fellowships enable U.S. educators to design their own professional development programs. International and domestic travel are often included in grant proposals, and FFT has been supporting these grants for U.S. educators since 2001. Additionally, FFT has links to some other great travel fellowships. Applications open in October 2017.
- Teachers for Global Classrooms Program From IREX: This Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program, administered by IREX, is a year-long cultural exchange for U.S. elementary, middle school, and high school teachers. The program includes intensive training, an international field experience, and a global education symposium in Washington, DC. Applications open in December 2017.
- Grants to Travel to Polar Regions From PolarTREC: PolarTREC offers annual grants to U.S. 6–12 teachers that enable them to spend three to six weeks in polar regions and participate in field research projects. Since the program’s launch in 2007, teachers have traveled to Greenland, Alaska, and Antarctica and have studied a range of science-related topics, including wetland dynamics and coastal ecology. The application process for next year’s expeditions will open this summer.
- Teacher at Sea Grants From NOAA: Since 1990, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Teacher at Sea program has enabled more than 600 teachers to sail aboard NOAA research ships and gain hands-on research experience. The program is open to U.S.-based K–12 and college educators, and participants study oceanic and atmospheric science alongside NOAA scientists. Applications for the 2018 program will open in late 2017.
- Teach Earth Conservation Research Grants: The Earthwatch Institute’s Teach Earth program offers U.S. K–12 educators the chance to support conservation projects in natural locations around the world. In addition to research, educators also participate in science learning and professional development. To be notified when applications open, educators must fill out an interest form; qualified teachers will be invited to complete a full application, due in late 2017.
- German Study Tours From Goethe-Institut: Every year, the Goethe-Institut offers U.S. and Canadian social studies and STEM educators the opportunity to travel through Germany on two-week excursions. During the tours, “each corner of Germany is sampled through sight, sound, touch, and taste.” Applications for the 2018 program will be released in October.
- Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows Program in STEM: The Einstein program enables U.S. teachers to advocate for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) on Capitol Hill and/or in congressional offices for up to a year. The application process for the 2017–18 school year is closed; the application process for 2018–19 will open in late summer.
Other Great Travel Grant Sources
- Travel the World With Grants Just for Educators: This article from the National Education Association features 10 scholarships designed to help teachers travel the world. Included are program details, funding amounts, and eligibility requirements for applications. Most grants apply only to U.S. teachers; international teachers should check out Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching.
- 29 Travel Grants and Other Travel Opportunities for Teachers and Education Professionals: Travel Beyond Excuse is a blog that’s “helping teachers who want to travel.” This article features 29 sources for teacher travel grants, and in addition you’ll find tons of ideas and strategies for traveling on the cheap.
- Travel Grants From Teaching Traveling: Another website dedicated to education travel, Teaching Traveling is a great source of inspiration for educators looking for travel funding. In addition to the site’s Travel Grants section, you’ll find inspiring interviews with “teacher-travelers” as well as ideas and tips for securing funding.
Writing an Awesome Application
- Grant Space Classroom From Foundation Center: Foundation Center’s training center features tons of useful online grant-writing courses. Many of the courses are free and self-paced, and they’re designed to help anyone write more effective proposals. Great, free courses for beginners include Introduction to Proposal Writing and Proposal Budgeting Basics.
- How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal: This GuideStar resource offers concrete tips for writing strong applications. With ideas for what to include as well as formatting and style tips, there’s a lot here to help you get started.
- 10 Key Ingredients of Winning Proposals: Looking for ways to make your application stand out? Mathilda Harris, the director of the Grant Training Center, provides tips and ideas on what to include in your grant proposal.