Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the following frequently asked questions for the Hilton Worldwide Teacher Treks Program. If you do not see your question listed below, please email teachertreks@iie.org.

I am currently in my third year of full-time teaching. Can I apply to the program?

I am certified in ESL, but I am not currently teaching ESL. Can I apply to the Teach Abroad Grant?

I am a Pre-K teacher. Am I eligible for the Hilton Worldwide Teacher Treks Program?

Can I apply to the Hilton Worldwide Teacher Treks Program with another teacher as a team?

Can I apply to both grant options (Teach Abroad Grant and Travel Grant)?

What does the $7,500 grant cover for the Teach Abroad Grant?

What does the $6,000 grant cover for the Travel Grant?

Will I need to contribute additional “out-of-pocket” funds for this opportunity?

What is the school donation used for?

If chosen for the Travel Grant, are teachers required to stay the entire length of the visit in Hilton Worldwide properties?

If chosen for the Teach Abroad Grant, are teachers required to stay the entire length of the placement in the Hilton Worldwide property?

Can I bring something with me if I am chosen for the Travel Grant or Teach Abroad Grant?

Can I incorporate more than one country into my itinerary for the Travel Grant option?

Can I travel to a country/city that does not have a Hilton Worldwide property for the Travel Grant option?

The Travel Grant application asks for my top three countries of preference. Should I write the essay questions for all three selected countries?

If selected for the Teach Abroad Grant, how often will I be teaching, how many students will be in the classes and what is the content?

I am applying for the Teach Abroad Grant. Has Hilton Worldwide determined the placements for the Teach Abroad awardees?

Does IIE help with travel arrangements?

How many grants are being awarded?

My reference has not received the automated email from the system. Is this a technical problem?

Can you tell me which references have submitted their forms on my behalf?

I already submitted my application. How can I make changes to a reference’s information?

When will we be notified of the selection results?

Can I apply for travel to a U.S. state or territory, such as Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico?


Q: I am currently in my third year of full-time teaching. Can I apply to the program?

A: Yes. At the time of application, teachers should be in at least their third year of full-time teaching. Teachers must complete their third year of full-time teaching during the 2013-2014 school year in order to be eligible to apply. Teachers who are in their second year (or less) of full-time teaching during the 2013-2014 school year are not eligible to apply.

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Q: I am certified in ESL, but I am not currently teaching ESL. Can I apply to the Teach Abroad Grant?

A: Yes. Teachers who are certified in ESL are eligible to apply for the Teach Abroad Grant, even if they are not currently teaching ESL. Teachers should indicate this in the “Education” section of the application. There is a text box for “other” in this section of the application and teachers should indicate that they are ESL certified. 

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Q: I am a Pre-K Teacher. Am I eligible for the Hilton Worldwide Teacher Treks Program?

A: No, at this time, the program is not available for Pre-K teachers. Please visit the Eligibility Requirements section of the website for more information. 

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Q: Can I apply to the Hilton Worldwide Teacher Treks Program with another teacher as a team?

A: No, at this time, the program does not accept team applications. The application should be completed by 1 (one) individual with an itinerary to carry out of his/her design. If selected, teachers are able to bring a travel companion with them on their journey though the costs associated with bringing a travel companion are not covered by the selected teacher’s travel grant allowance.

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Q: Can I apply to both grant options?

A: Yes, if teachers are eligible for both program options (Teach Abroad Grant and Travel Grant), they may apply to both grants.

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Q: What does the $7,500 grant cover for the Teach Abroad grant?

A: The full award amount for the Teach Abroad Grant is $9,000, with $1,500 allocated for taxes. For planning purposes, teachers should budget according to the valued grant amount of $7,500. This amount is meant to cover the cost of flight, lodging, food, etc. During the teacher’s placement, he/she will be required to stay at a Hilton Worldwide property. The cost of staying at the Hilton Worldwide property during the placement will be paid by the teacher out of the grant allowance.

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Q: What does the $6,000 grant cover for the Travel Grant?

A: The full award amount for the Travel Grant is $7,500, with $1,500 allocated for taxes. For planning purposes, teachers should budget according to the valued grant amount of $6,000. This amount is meant to cover the cost of flight, lodging, food, entry fees, etc. Selected teachers will be required to stay in a Hilton Worldwide property for at least one night during their journey. Teachers will be required to pay for the stay at the Hilton Worldwide property out of their grant allowance. Though not required, we recommend teachers draft a sample budget to prepare their proposed itinerary. (The time spent at the Hilton Worldwide property is meant for the teacher and the Cultural Ambassador to connect and take part in a day-long cultural excursion together. More information about the Cultural Ambassador can be found on the Program Components section of the website.)

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Q: Will I need to contribute "out-of-pocket" funds for this opportunity?

A: The grant allowance for both options (Travel Grant and Teach Abroad Grant) is meant to cover the entire cost of the journey. Based on the first cohort of teachers in 2013, some were able to travel without using any out-of-pocket costs, while others needed to use their own personal funds for their journey. Though not required, we encourage teachers to develop a budget in order to understand their trip feasibility and the necessary out-of-pocket costs they may incur.

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Q: What is the school donation used for?

A: If selected as a Teacher Treks awardee or runner-up, the school donation will be issued directly to the teacher’s school. The use of the donation should be determined jointly by the teacher and the school Principal or Head of School. Previous school donation recipients have used it for classroom cultural excursions, field trips, classroom materials, technology, etc.

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Q: If selected for the Travel Grant, are teachers required to stay the entire length of the journey in Hilton Worldwide properties?

A: If applying to the Travel Grant option, teachers will be required to stay in a Hilton Worldwide property for at least one night. Travel Grant awardees will be connected with a Hilton Cultural Ambassador before their Trek to learn more about the local culture before arriving in the host country. The Travel Grant awardee and the Hilton Cultural Ambassador will participate in a day-long cultural excursion together in the host country.

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Q: If selected for the Teach Abroad Grant, are teachers required to stay the entire length of the placement in the Hilton Worldwide property?

A: If selected for the Teach Abroad Grant option, teachers will be required to stay in a Hilton Worldwide property for the entire length of the placement. Teachers who receive the Teach Abroad Grant will be connected with a Hilton Cultural Ambassador before the Trek to aid the teacher in coordinating and scheduling the classes at the Hilton property. The Teach Abroad awardee and the Hilton Cultural Ambassador will participate in a day-long cultural excursion together in the host country at the end of the teacher’s placement. Please know that the teachers will be required to pay for their lodging at the Hilton Worldwide property with the grant allowance.

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Q: Can I bring someone with me if I am selected for the Travel Grant or Teach Abroad Grant?

A: Yes, if selected for the program, teachers can bring a travel companion (spouse, partner, dependent, colleague, etc.). The costs associated with bringing a travel companion are not covered by the teacher’s grant allowance. This would be an extra “out-of-pocket” cost to the travel companion.

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Q: Can I incorporate more than one country into my proposed itinerary for the Travel Grant?

A: Yes, teachers can incorporate more than one country into their itinerary. When doing so, we encourage teachers to think about the feasibility of an itinerary with multiple countries, including any budget implications this may have.

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Q: Can I travel to a country/city that does not have a Hilton Worldwide property for the Travel Grant option?

A: Teachers must (at some point in their itinerary) travel to a country with a Hilton Worldwide Property in order to connect with their Hilton Cultural Ambassador. The remainder of the teacher’s itinerary is of their design. If a teacher would like to travel to other cities that do not have Hilton Worldwide properties, that is acceptable. The teacher is not required to stay in Hilton Worldwide properties for the remaining part of their itinerary.

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Q: The Travel Grant application asks for my top three countries of preference. Should I write the essay questions for all three listed countries?

A: Applicants for the Travel Grant option should write their essays with their first country choice in mind. Applicants do not need to write their essay responses with each country as a separate itinerary. The application asks for the teacher’s top three countries in order to accommodate potential changes in country choice due to security, travel feasibility, etc. Final country placement will be determined jointly by the teacher and IIE if selected for the program.

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Q: If selected for the Teach Abroad Grant, how often will I be teaching, how many students will be in the classes and what is the content?

A: Class schedule, frequency and number of students will be determined collectively by IIE, the participating Hilton Worldwide property and the Hilton Cultural Ambassador at the property. This will also be determined by the needs of the selected Hilton Worldwide property. The content of the classes will be basic ESL and cross-cultural education about U.S. customs and culture. IIE will provide selected Teach Abroad awardees with training prior to their arrival in country.

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Q: I am applying to the Teach Abroad Grant. Has Hilton determined the placement countries for the Teach Abroad awardees?

A: The placements for the Teach Abroad Grant are still being determined by IIE and Hilton Worldwide. Teachers who apply to this option of the Hilton Teacher Treks Program must be willing to go abroad to a country designated by Hilton Worldwide. The priority of the program is to place teachers on this track in a country where their skills are most needed, so we encourage teachers to be flexible if offered an assignment. At the time of application, teachers will be asked to list up to three countries that would fit well with their background (language and previous international experiences). Final country assignments will be made at the time of the award, if selected.

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Q: Does IIE help with travel arrangements?

A: Yes, IIE will work with the selected teachers to book their airfare. The remaining travel arrangements (in-country travel, hotels, tours, etc.) will be arranged by the teacher.

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Q: How many grants are being awarded?

A: 15 (fifteen) grants in total will be awarded in 2014. 10 (ten) will be awarded for the Travel Grant option, 5 (five) will be awarded for the Teach Abroad option. 15 (fifteen) runners-up will be awarded.

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Q: My reference has not received the automated email from the system. Is this a technical problem?

A: For references that have not yet received their login information, please follow these steps:

  1. Log back into the application and go to the “References” section.
  2. Double/triple check that the email address you inputted is correct.
  3. We recommend using a reference’s personal email address, not a school email address as these sometimes get caught in spam filters. Ask the reference for a personal email address if needed.
  4. We strongly recommend not using any Hotmail email addresses, as the system does not send to Hotmail email addresses.
  5. If changes need to be made to a reference, applicants must add that person again as an entirely new reference. The system will not allow applicants to edit the information of a current reference and you will receive an error.
  6. Please note that after this person is added as an entirely new reference, you will not be able to delete the incorrect reference. This will stay in the system, but will not affect your application.

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    Q: Can you tell me which references have submitted their forms on my behalf?

    A: Teachers will receive an email from the system when references submit on their behalf. It is the responsibility of the teachers to check in with their references to ensure they complete the form.

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    Q: I already submitted my application. How can I make changes to a reference's information?

    A: Teachers who have already submitted their application will not be able to make changes. Please email teachertreks@iie.org and ask for your application to be unlocked in the system. We highly recommend waiting until after the required references have submitted their forms before submitting the application.

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    Q: When will teachers be notified of the selection results?

    A: All teachers will be notified of the selection results in late March 2014.

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    Q: Can I apply for the Travel Grant option to a U.S. state or territory, such as Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico?

    A: No, this program is meant for teachers to travel to a country or countries outside the U.S. Teachers are not eligible to travel to a U.S. state or territory.

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