Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 04:10 pm

Fancy a two-year (renewable) stint in the land of opportunity – and the chance to travel across the USA on Route 66? If you’re a qualified teacher you can!

Join the Participate programme now!

Over the past twenty years, 335 South African teachers have taken advantage of Participate’s opportunities to teach and live in the United States.

No age limit: teachers of all ages can apply

The programme’s International Recruitment Manager, Jeff Seaby encourages teachers of all ages to consider applying.

“It is a valuable learning experience for the South African teachers, their students and colleagues. Teachers have the opportunity to integrate into new communities and schools, where they will develop both professionally and personally.

“Throughout the years, we have grown our focus in educator development through our global and dual language programmess, collaborative professional learning platform and cultural exchange teacher programme. More than 10 000 teachers from 84 countries have participated in the programme which has run for past 31 years,” adds Jeff.

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South African teachers learn from, and share their own skill sets with their American colleagues, while imparting lessons about Africa, and particularly South African culture with American students

Opportunities to teach primary school, maths, science, and world languages (including English as a Second Language)

  • All positions are full-time and salaried, with competitive health benefits and professional development opportunities.
  • As an additional benefit, it is possible for immediate family members to travel to United States and obtain a dependent visa.
  • Participants must agree to complete a minimum of two years on the programme to ensure continuity and stability for learners at participating schools in the United States.

Participate partners with schools in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina

All three states are in the Southeast USA. Placements are in rural, suburban, or urban settings. Schools are carefully evaluated for suitability.

The voice of positive experience

Anita van Wyk, a 59-year-old teacher from Pretoria, praises the Participate programme. “I would absolutely recommend the programme, especially for young teachers, and I always try to get them to apply. It’s a wonderful experience where you get to learn about different cultures, and you are able to experience life in another country, and learn different teaching methodologies and strategies that can be used to teach your students when you return to South Africa. I also greatly improved my English. It isn’t my first language, but I’m not nervous to teach in English anymore.”

Anita, who spent six years with the programme, taught second and third grade at Gray’s Creek Elementary, and Queen’s Creek Elementary in North Carolina. She brought a lot of the strategies that worked well in the United States back to South Africa,

“Those strategies have worked well with students here as well, particularly those focused on improving literacy, spelling, and maths.” She embraced learning to teach using advanced technology, and was particularly fond of using smart boards and smart programmes in the classroom. She hopes that we’ll see more of their use in South African schools soon as she feels they offer an opportunity for greater interaction and sharing within the classroom.

“Exposure to the different cultures in America taught me a lot about diversity, about the things that make us different, but mostly about the things that make us all the same” – Anita van Wyk

She says she’s grown a lot personally through her experiences. “Exposure to the different cultures in America taught me a lot about diversity, about the things that make us different, but mostly about the things that make us all the same. I’d love to do another year with Participate.”

Most of the South African teachers who have participated in the programme came from in or around Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg as those were the cities where they primarily interviewed candidates.

Rather than contributing to SA’s brain drain, Participate is adding to our education development

Jeff explains that, rather than contributing to the country’s increasing brain drain, the Participate programme is adding to the South Africa’s education development. “Like Anita, most of the 335 South African teachers have returned home, bringing their learning with them so that others can benefit from their experiences and new knowledge.”

How to apply

In order to be a candidate for the Participate recruitment process, educators must have a university degree in education, and at least two years of full-time experience as a teacher in a primary school or high school. They also need a driver’s licence as they will need to drive to work.

For more information visit

About Participate

Participate has helped teachers from around the world have the experience of teaching int the USA. Participate partners with schools and districts to provide leading-edge technology, comprehensive frameworks and support services. These programmes and services have an impact on student outcomes by improving teacher practice through collaborative professional learning. For nearly 30 years, educators have used Participate’s professional development and curriculum, language acquisition and cultural exchange teacher programmes to create engaging learning environments that empower teachers and inspire students to create impact on a global scale. Participate is a certified B Corp and ‘Best for the World’ honoree and is headquartered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.