International debating and public speaking tours

The English-Speaking Union has been organising cross-cultural tours since 1922, beginning with the inaugural US tour.

These tours help us to achieve our aims: to use English as a shared means of communication, to advance global education through oracy and to develop sustainable speech and debate infrastructures in countries around the world.

Each year, the ESU sends a number of mentors across the globe to teach core oracy skills and spread the values of understanding and communication. Previous and ongoing tours include Turkey, Hong Kong, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Chile, Turkmenistan, China, Italy, Romania, USA, Denmark and Japan. Tours are organised by international ESUs and partner organisations around the world, whilst the ESU team in London provides speech and debate mentors from the UK.

International tours are a fantastic way for mentors to develop their debating and public speaking skills, as well as improve their teaching. Tours also allow mentors to immerse themselves in a new country and culture. Alongside teaching and debating activities, they have the opportunity to explore their host country and meet with relevant educationalists and professionals.

Return flights to the UK, internal travel, subsistence and accommodation costs are all covered by the ESU.

One mentor describes her tour in Denmark:

We had the delight of working with bright, diligent young individuals with high aspirations and a love of education. We were able to teach essential, critical debating and diplomacy skills while getting the privilege to see a truly beautiful and spectacular country.”

Need more convincing? Read about Becki Howarth’s experience on the 2017 US tour and hear from more of our alumni on the 2016 Japan tour.

We are not currently open for applications for any international tours.

if you’re interested in being notified about applications for our next set of international tours or other mentor opportunities, please fill in this form.


In order to apply for an ESU International tour, you must be 18 or over, and you must be a current student or alumni of a UK university.

Please note that applicants who are already active in the ESU Education Network and have delivered training for the ESU in the past will be given priority in the application process. In order to get involved with the Education Network please visit this page.

If you represent an organisation that is interested in hosting ESU mentors, please contact William Stileman for further details.