Andi at the "Educators in Space" fellowship at Space Academy.

Andi at the “Educators in Space” fellowship at Space Academy.

Teaching Traveling: Are you curious which teacher travel grants and fellowships exist, and how to get them?

Let’s hear from an expert teacher-traveler, Andi Webb, who has earned over $250,000 in teacher travel funding! Andi, tell us about yourself.

Andi: Hello! I’m from the beautiful Southern state of North Carolina. I’m in my 19th year of teaching (How did that happen?!?) and I had never been abroad until 2011.

Andi in Indonesia at Sekolah Sukma Bangsa.

Andi in Indonesia at Sekolah Sukma Bangsa.

My first trip overseas was to Russia, and I fell in love with learning from people in a place very different than what I had ever experienced previously. Since that very first trip to Russia, I have been all over the world, and it has predominately been for educational purposes. I’m in love with teaching and traveling.

I sat down as soon as I returned from Russia, and began researching teacher travel grants and fellowships, and I have not stopped. I have been very fortunate to be a part of some amazing opportunities, and to have received over a quarter million dollars in grants and fellowships.

On the Great Wall of China with the College Chinese Bridge Delegation.

On the Great Wall of China with the College Chinese Bridge Delegation.

TT: Astounding! Can you list the teacher travel grants you’ve earned, so readers can be inspired for where to apply?

A: Absolutely! Fellowships, grants, and other teacher travel opportunities I’ve done include…

Andi skydiving in Florida!

Andi skydiving in Florida!

Ecuador, Galapagos, with turtles behind.

Ecuador, Galapagos, with turtles behind.

I also traveled to six different countries with World View: a program through UNC Chapel Hill. Participants can travel with them from out-of-state. There is a small out-of-state fee.

There is also a grant for science and math teachers in North Carolina through Burroughs Wellcome Fund called The Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers. It is a $175,000 five year award, and you must teach in North Carolina to get this specific grant.

Snorkeling during teacher travel to the Galapagos Islands with World View.

Snorkeling during teacher travel to the Galapagos Islands with World View.

TT: Wow! That’s a lot of teacher travel grants and fellowships! Tell us your secret to earning all those opportunities.

A: To find opportunities like all those I listed above, I get on listservs, ask for help, talk to other awardees, and do my research to find what’s out there. 

I often meet people who are accepted to fellowships the first time, and that is definitely NOT the case with me. I have learned to persevere, because if I get accepted, it’s usually on at least my THIRD try — sometimes even more.

Don’t give up if you’re not accepted at first!

Connecting in Indonesia.

Connecting in Indonesia.

Though I apply for many teacher travel grants and fellowships, some of the programs I have actually paid for personally. While some teacher travel programs fully fund the professional development, others offer their programs for a partial fee, and still others require more payment.

Do not, however, discount the option of earning money elsewhere to pay for teacher travel.

Singapore with dear friends made through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program.

Singapore with dear friends made through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program.

I have funded quite a few of my trips by finding paid opportunities to work. For example, I was accepted to the North Carolina Governor’s Teacher Network to develop curriculum for teachers throughout the state to access.

While it paid well overall, it was a year of challenging work. But it was worth it!

During teacher travel in Indonesia.

During teacher travel in Indonesia.

TT: You make a great point that while grants are great, it’s also worthwhile to self-fund travel through extra small jobs. Now, which was one of the best educational trip you took?

A: One of my most favorite travel opportunities was to Indonesia. Through the America’s Unofficial Ambassadors Program through Creative Learning, I worked to build a relationship with a partner school in Aceh, Indonesia over several months prior to my visit there.

I lived and worked on the school campus for two weeks. I’ve since returned twice to visit my Acehnese family.

Yellowstone in Winter with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

Yellowstone in Winter with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

TT: Sounds wonderful. Now, tell us about a particularly powerful travel moment.

A: The most pivotal moment for me that truly helped me recognize the need to learn from people and places around the world was on that very first trip abroad to Russia.

There were about 28 educators traveling together and we spent much of our time in the small town of Suzdal. Toward the end of the two weeks there, our hosts had a BBQ for us all.

Andi during teacher travel in China.

Andi during teacher travel in China.

After eating and playing games, we began to sing together. When they sang their national anthem and we sang ours, I simply couldn’t hold back the tears.

I was in a place I never imagined I’d be, known for our animosity with each other politically, and we were sharing our national anthems as friends. I’ll never forget it.

Enjoying Japanese fashion: Yukata in Japan with the ESD program.

Enjoying Japanese fashion: Yukata in Japan with the ESD program.

TT: What a beautiful moment! So, how have your travels impacted your career, and you?

A: My travels have impacted my career significantly. I have made my instruction much more globally focused and I have shared lots of stories and experiences with my students.

I’ve shared professional development with my colleagues and at the state, national, and international levels. I’ve lived in Singapore, and my goal is to work in international education full time. I’m much more open minded than I was before my travels, and very much more adventurous.

Hanging out with Indonesian friends.Hanging out with Indonesian friends.

Hanging out with Indonesian friends.

TT: Yes! What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching? 

A: The best advice I think I can share is to just go after your dreams, but realize that it truly does take A LOT of work and A LOT of perseverance. Teacher travel is not for everyone, but if it is for you, the world is wide open.

Listen, take lots of notes, do your research, get on every listserv possible, express your gratitude, and be willing to put the work into your goals. Nothing worth having comes easy, and this, at least for me, is no exception… but definitely worth it.

Ready for takeoff!

Ready for takeoff!

Many people see the fun aspects of teaching and traveling, but it’s the Saturday nights in front of the computer, and the weekends full of work that they don’t see. But, I truly believe it’s worth it in the long run. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Edited, August 2018 to include: During the 2018-2019 school year, I am excited to serve as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in Washington, DC as a Congressional Fellow through the United States Department of Energy. The AEF Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena.

The total amount of teacher travel grants and fellowships I have earned is now about $350,000.

TT: WOW! Thanks so much, Andi! Readers, what questions or comments do you have?

Want teacher travel grants and fellowships? Learn the secrets from this educator who has earned over a quarter of a million dollars in educational travel!

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you, Matt! I appreciate your kind words and you are rather amazing yourself!

    Reply

    1. Andi,
      I have been selected for a faculty development trip to India for January 2019 and I need some supplemental funds to make the trip. I am a community college professor in NC at Guilford technical Community College in Greensboro. Can you offer me any suggestion for sources of funding, I need a minimum of $1,000.

      Reply

      1. Hi Michael,
        I’m not sure what Andi will advise, but in short-term situations like this, grants can be hard, so I’ve seen people successfully do a combination of community fundraising (GoFundMe, etc.) and extra odd jobs (ex: Tutoring). Even if you end up having to borrow money to make this work, it’s usually worth it. Sending you the best of luck!

        Reply

  2. Andi Webb is an amazing educator. This interview definitely inspires.

    Reply

  3. […] How to Earn Over a $250,000 in Teacher Travel Grants and Fellowships! […]

    Reply

  4. Thanks for the article! Where are the listservs you check out? I’d love to look at them as well!

    Reply

    1. You are most welcome! I apologize for the delay in responding.
      I know this is kind of vague but there are honestly so many listservs. I ask to be put on any and everything. Fulbright, IIE, Fund for Teachers, Earthwatch, QFI, Nat Geo, university listservs that offer workshops on the Middle East, East Asia, etc. Many times if you take a workshop, they’ll put you on their listserv and you get lots of information.
      I also like to join professional organizations because then you get on their listservs, get their newsletters, etc.
      There are Facebook groups and so many options to be a part of-just ask if you can join if they have a listserv. Many do but if they don’t, all they can do is say no! I hope this helps!

      Reply

  5. […] that and summer teacher grants, I’ve been able to travel pretty easily and cheaply. While “officially” these grants only pay […]

    Reply

  6. Thank you, Lillie! I truly appreciate your support of teaching, traveling, and me personally!

    Reply

    1. You’re such an inspiration, Andi! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

      Reply

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