Life in Micronesia as an American teacher?
February 1, 2015 10:44 AM   Subscribe

So, I have a friend who is considering a short-term (9 months?) gig as a teacher in Micronesia. Does anyone have any personal experience with Micronesia? Or resources I/he should read? I'm intensely curious but have no idea where to start. And, should he take the position, he'll want to make the most of his time there. Is there a best guidebook? Things to take? Congratulatory present I should give him specific to life in Micronesia? Thanks!
posted by ticketmaster10 to Travel & Transportation around Micronesia (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
His reading list should include J. Maarten Troost's The Sex Lives of Cannibals about his time in Kiribati. Fun book and very informative about the culture there.
posted by storminator7 at 10:53 AM on February 1, 2015

A high school friend of mine went to Yap to teach English after college. It was supposed to be a short term thing but he completely fell in love with the place, stayed for several years. He only just recently returned to the US where he's teaching English at a hoity toity private school, but he goes back to Yap regularly.

Have your friend send me an email at my username at gmail. I'll put the two of them in contact.
posted by phunniemee at 11:08 AM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Real Castaway is a documentary mainly about some dude's absurd teenage fantasy of living out a "Blue Lagoon" romance, but it happens to include scenes of him teaching at Mog Mog Elementary School, Ulithi Atoll, Yap State, Micronesia. I suspect other locations in the region will vary quite a bit though.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:13 AM on February 1, 2015

I lived in the Marshall Islands for one year as a volunteer teacher. My time was spent on a tiny (less than 1 sq mi) outer island with no running water or electricity, so I'm not sure if my experiences will be relevant...

Overall, the weather varied little throughout the year. It was humid but rarely out of the 80s (Fahrenheit). I kept my camera in an otter box. Those that brought waterproof underwater camera boxes didn't seem to use them too much- 1-2 underwater disposable cameras may be enough.

Sunscreen is super important. The men wore pants most of the time, and the county was pretty conservative.

The best things I brought centered around things I love- art supplies and a giant dictionary. Obviously I was pretty cut off and knew what would make me happy.

I suggest a gift box based on his hobbies or a food box. You could get a lot of stuff in Majuro but it was expensive. One thing I told myself is that if I returned I would bring soup mixes... I had several weeks at one point with rice, ketchup, and the occasional fried donut. You'd be surprised how little some people fish (at least in the RMI)!

I brought a lot of school supplies, as specialized teaching supplies were hard to come by in the capital island. You could get basic things like staplers easily, but I brought posters and puppets, Twister...

A Kindle would be a great thing to have, but keep in mind what I said about humidity... Most of my clothing zippers rusted.

A few solar lights would be good- I use cool lightweight 'd.lights' in Ethiopia where I live now. In the RMI I used a kerosene lamp. I had a wind up AM radio that was fun. Near the end of my stay the Kwajalein US military station jolted me back into American culture. Before I went, I wanted a short wave radio but just never got one.
posted by maya at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ran anim! - Chukese for good day. Micronesia is comprised of four states, each with similar but unique languages. Will your friend be on Pohnpei, the national Capitol island or in Chuuk the most populous? I found the FSM delightful during the time I spent there. Our niece took a teaching assignment on Majaro in the Marshall Islands (RMI) which is very similar to culture in the FSM. She enjoyed it so much that she found employment there and has stayed on. Both the FSM and the RMI are close to equatorial with hot humid weather. Send me mail and I can send you vocabulary sheets. Micronesia offers world renown SCUBA dive opportunities. If your friend is interested SCUBA certification prior to trip would be great.
posted by X4ster at 11:19 AM on February 1, 2015

I graduated from high school on Kwajalein Island, about a 40 minute flight from Majaro that is mentioned above. However Kwaj is a secure military base with almost all the creature comforts of life back home. It's very different than living on Majaro or someplace like Ebeye. It would help if we know which island your friend is going to.
posted by COD at 11:52 AM on February 1, 2015

Yes, tell us which island. I'm from Nauru and will chime in if that's where your friend is going.
posted by stellathon at 12:49 AM on February 2, 2015

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