WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in the Marshall Islands

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On the Marshall Islands, primary school is mandatory for Grades 1-8, though many children are not enrolled. As a volunteer teacher on the Marshall Islands, you could teach in public elementary schools, high schools, or vocational schools. One placement is an urban area with larger and more advanced classes, and another in a rural area where the communities are largely untouched by modernity.

Our Marshall Islands program is fully funded by the Marshall Islands Ministry of Education and volunteer airfare is also covered.

With our year-long program, you can also become TEFL certified to earn credibility and give you an edge in the ESL teaching job market. While certification usually costs about $1,899, with WorldTeach you can become certified for only $350 while also gaining priceless in-country teaching experience.

Watch our webinar ( to hear directly from previous volunteer teachers and field staff on what it's like to teach in the Marshall Islands.

Questions & Answers

Rob, Thank you for your interest in a WorldTeach teaching position. Unfortunately, we only offer year long teaching positions to candidates who hold a degree. This is partly our policy, but the Ministries and Departments of Education we partner with require you hold a degree to teach in their schools as well. Summer teaching programs only require you are 18 or older, however we do not offer a...


based on 33 reviews
  • Benefits 8.1
  • Support 8
  • Fun 7.8
  • Facilities 8
  • Safety 8.1
Showing 16 - 30 of 33
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Good experience, but critical lack of field support

Overall, I found my year in the Marshall Islands to be meaningful, and full of rewarding experiences. The people in my town were welcoming and supportive, and it was a great experience to become completely immersed in another culture.
Having said that, the support system in place for volunteers in-country was lacking, and the field directors proved unable to cope with sudden or unexpected problems that arose over the course of the year. Whether it was the plane that delivered mail and supplies breaking down, or the ships that were supposed to deliver our luggage never leaving port, things don't always go as planned, especially in a country like the RMI, but our field directors often told us that they didn't have time to find another option, or were incredibly slow in going to plan B. The big issue my year was that about 2 months into our program, Dengue Fever arrived in the Marshall Islands and began spreading to all the islands. While our two field directors were passionate about their job and very nice, their lack of experience (it was the first year as field director for both of them) meant that they were quickly overwhelmed, and their communication with both parents and volunteers about Dengue Fever, and the steps they were taking to address it, completely broke down. As a volunteer on an island with no way of getting any kind of news, having my field director have nothing to tell me on our weekly radio check-in about how they were handling the situation beyond repeating the short memo that the embassy put out shook my faith in the ability of the directors to give us effective support.
In addition, we were told that the purpose of the program was to provide English teachers to remote schools while that school's English teacher went to the capital to get additional teacher training. However, as far as I know, almost none of the schools that had volunteers actually sent a teacher in for more training. I know mine didn't.
I would really like to recommend this program, because for me it was a rewarding experience and I formed lasting friendships with the other volunteers, who were all awesome and amazing. But given the inability of our field directors to provide effective support when serious problems arose, and the fact that Worldteach placed two field directors with no experience in charge of the program where volunteers are the most isolated and need the most support, I don't feel like I could recommend it to my friends.

No, I don't recommend
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Extremely well-run, challenging experience

WorldTeach Marshall Islands is an extremely well-run program with tremendous support on the ground. The Marshallese people are warm and welcoming. It's inspiring to see how the Marshallese make the most of limited resources in their humble but beautiful tropical islands. Life in the Marshalls is a challenge, but if you're the kind of person that thrives on a challenge, you'll have an experience that will change your outlook and perspective forever. Highly recommended.

How can this program be improved?
More organized school administrators - but I realize that's asking a lot.
Yes, I recommend
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Teaching on an island of 200 people!

If you are ready to experience a very different culture and lifestyle, if you want to face yourself and surmount the challenges that being isolated bring, consider this program. Your mind has to be in the right place. You have to give your heart wholly to the kids. You will make connections, experience beauty and be surprised every day if you allow yourself to be. Highlights for me included singing with my students, seeing their awareness of the world open up ("What? Dragons aren't real?"), slowing down to life on island time, being close to nature and utilizing my creativity in the classroom. My favourite moment was being taken spearfishing one day and devouring the fish seconds later while still standing in the lagoon. The diet, isolation and discipline in the classroom were the greatest challenges for me.

How can this program be improved?
Improved packing list pre-departure and teacher quality program feedback delivered to outer-islanders too.
Yes, I recommend
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Marshall Islands, Namdrik 2013

Going to the Marshall Islands for a year was the best decision I have ever made. I'm not saying the experience was easy– dengue fever, attacking dogs, dealing with drunk island men, and working as a teacher in a community that doesn't really need Western-style learning for survival or daily life were some of the challenges I faced. But it was definitely a journey whose ups and downs opened my mind to a different way of living, a different set of ethics, etiquette, mode of communication, and cultural traditions, and made me more able to understand and analyze the society I came from and the unspoken tenets I had adhered to and unwittingly accepted as a member.
This is not a program for someone who wants constant supervision and support, but rather for someone who enjoys being thrown into the water and having to figure out how to swim. Your communication with the field directors consists of one or two radio calls a week–maybe. There really aren't any curriculum books to guide your teaching, no teacher training/ mentorship, and no copy machine. I liked that freedom to do whatever I wanted and teaching was a constant experiment. That said, island life on Namdrik (the island I was placed on) is in many ways a lot less stressful and scary than life in urban centers. You have time to chat with your host family and neighbors, play with neighborhood kids, swim in the lagoon, cook, take jambos (walks), and snorkel.
I will admit that a few of the other volunteers didn't have quite the positive experience I did. For example, there was a drought my volunteer year and while Namdrik was fine because it's in the far south by the Equator and receives lots of rain, there were food and water shortages in the north and a volunteer had to be evacuated (this was after her host family stopped giving her sufficient food). In additions, a couple of the volunteer teachers were teaching far more students than should be possible (think close to 50 kids in one classroom), and one volunteer ended up being the caretaker for her host family's children when the parents decided to take off for the main island for the remainder of the year. But for the vast majority of volunteers, our year with WorldTeach in the RMI was a transformational, challenging, and wonderful experience we will revisit regularly in our minds for the rest of our our lives that strengthened us and helped us grow our souls a bit. And in my case, my time on Namdrik also guided me to a career path that I am excited about and fits who I am after years of wandering aimlessly through different job experiences after college. A great gift indeed.
So to sum it up, do this program, or something like it that gets you out of your comfort zone and introduces you to a different world.

How can this program be improved?
All the imperfections stemmed from how life rolls on the Marshall Islands. Just a part of life there.
Yes, I recommend
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Amazing and Challenging

On an outer island flexibility and curiosity was a must. Life was *completely* different than what it was back home. This meant I had to give myself readjustment time. This meant allowing myself to feel either blue or homesick, but always trying to take a look at what I did have.
I had an excellent host-family and, on an island of about 400 inhabitants, it's hard to not feel like everyone is somehow "extended-family".

The airplane didn't work all year, which was frustrating, but I had mentally prepared to stay on Mejit the entire time, so it wasn't as difficult as if I had hoped to return. Joining the choir for Christmas and learning the dancing was a highlight of my time. Did I actually know all the words I was singing? No, but did everyone (myself included) appreciate my attempt? Yes we did.

Mejit and the RMI were beautiful and amazing though, most decidedly worth a visit!

Yes, I recommend
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Amazing Experience

WorldTeach gave me the opportunity to spend a year teaching in the Marshall Islands. Being able to live and teach in the Marshall Islands was an absolute privilege. My Marshallese students and the community welcomed me with open arms. The training WorldTeach provided right before I went to my placement island, helped me to understand cultural differences and be respectful right from the beginning. I felt supported from the moment I started the interview process. I highly recommend WorldTeach as well as the Marshall Islands placement to everyone who is interested in teaching abroad.

Yes, I recommend
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Fantastic Program

I volunteered with WorldTeach RMI in 2005-2006 and was very happy with my experience. The screening process was very thorough and the staff and returned volunteers were very helpful in preparing for the experience. The in-country orientation was exceptional: the field director set up an extensive training program that assured that we were equipped with the right tools not only to teach but to navigate and assimilate to a different culture. I was placed on an Outer Island and was very happy with the support that I received: from the Buddy program, weekly radio check-ins, and monthly newsletter to on-site teaching evaluations, refresher courses at the mid-year break, and caring personal attention when challenges arose. I had an incredible time teaching at an elementary school and living with a host family on my island. This experience changed my life and I recommend it to anyone who is ready to challenge themselves physically and mentally and to commit themselves to educating students who are in great need.

Yes, I recommend
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An amazing experience

I was stationed on Utrok, one of the outer islands in the country. It was incredible, the people were amazing, the teaching rewarding, and it is definitely an experience that will stick with me always.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Experience

The Marshall Islands program was one of the best years of my life. I was specifically placed on the main island of Majuro and taught 10th grade English at the high school. I lived with 8 other volunteers in community on the campus in a dorm. There was a program director living on the island for help at all times. Before beginning the school year we had a month of intensive in-country orientation that included cultural, language, and teaching instruction.

How can this program be improved?
I guess the only thing I would change is the amount of checkins by the supervisors. They were VERY busy, but it would be great if they could have come into our classrooms once a month maybe instead of once the whole year.
Yes, I recommend
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You'll love it and hate it at the same time

I was placed on Kwajalein Atoll and while I did grow to love where I lived and the people in my community, I did struggle with teaching there. There was not a lot of support from other staff members and in some ways, I felt I was doing more harm than good. This is a country that relies heavily on aid money and I believe it has left the country and its people to depend too much on aid and help. However, with that said, if I had to do it over again, I would. I learned a lot about development there (not all good) and I cherish the families I came to be apart of in my community. Just keep in mind that your expectations, even the ones WorldTeach tries to tell you, will be vastly different from reality. Like most things, this is a complex society which you will not fully understand even after a year of living and working there. I have friends who did other programs with WorldTeach and loved it so I would probably recommend a different program for most people I know.

No, I don't recommend
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Great but VERY challenging experience

WorldTeach did a wonderful job of setting up the program, my teaching placement, host family, etc. I was on an outer island and they did everything possible to keep me safe and supported, even at a great distance.
The teaching placement was EXTREMELY difficult, but that is par for the course.

Yes, I recommend
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Unorganized; Little Support

Although I've completed three years of full-time volunteer service with different organizations (WorldTeach, another foreign program, and a domestic USA program), WT RMI was the only program that I had a difficult time with. The WT organization failed to pass on my application to the RMI program (which was originally listed as my second choice program). I had to re-apply in order to gain acceptance into the program. They also advertise the RMI program as being "fully funded", though in reality most volunteers must spend quite a bit of out-of-pocket money to 1) pay for a flight to the departure site, and 2) supplement their small stipend on-island for basic necessities. There seems to be an assumption that most or all volunteers have people that can send them care packages with needed items; however, many islands are difficult to even get mail or packages to.

The WT RMI program itself was unorganized and offered little support. Teacher training was quick, general (not geared to the situation of the RMI), and overall lacking. Many volunteers were on unsafe outer island conditions (no food and a drought, for instance) and some took months to receive any real help from WT.

What I did appreciate from the program was support from other volunteers. Weekly teacher check-ins gave great peer advice on ways to handle teaching situations.

The crumbling infrastructure of the RMI makes it a difficult place to house a program such as WT. Many times, volunteers are the only person at their school who really seem to take work seriously. Despite volunteers coming year after year, even schools with regular WT volunteers seem to show little, if any, real progress. Many volunteers teach basic phonics skills to all students (K-8). The education system is severely broken, which is obviously not the fault of the WT program. That being said, if WT can't make the program work in a way that's benefiting the schools and providing volunteers with the support they need, this program should be reconsidered.

I loved my students. I loved teaching. I don't regret my time in the RMI. That being said, I would NOT recommend the WT program to others.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to submit this review, it is extremely important and helpful for us to receive this feedback about our program in the Marshall Islands.

Our primary concern at WorldTeach is the safety of our volunteers. We would not be in the Marshall Islands, nor would have continued the program there for over ten years, if we felt our volunteers were in unsafe living conditions. Our US office and our field staff work with the Marshallese government to ensure the safety of our volunteers, which is our highest priority. If there is an emergency, this may mean chartering a boat or plane to access volunteers in the outer islands. We have worked closely with the RMI to make sure that these options are always available. In fact two years ago the Minister in Assistance to the President personally sent the plane to pick up a WorldTeach volunteer who was thought at the time to have appendicitis.

Life on the outer islands is rural and simple; WorldTeach only places volunteers there that are searching for that lifestyle. In regards to the availability of food in the outer islands, you are correct that sometimes the cargo boats are delayed in delivering food provisions, and there are problems sometimes with local production (or the water supply.) WorldTeach will not leave a volunteer without appropriate food and water, obviously. And we feel the volunteers are the best able to determine if the situation on the island is an appropriate one for his/her needs. These challenges are an aspect of living in a developing country or a different culture that may be difficult for some people to become accustomed to, but that in essence is the challenge of WorldTeach. The urban islands of the Marshall Islands are more developed with additional resources; volunteers are placed in both settings based upon their preferences.

In response to your comment on costs, the WorldTeach Marshall Islands program is fortunate in its funding received by the Marshall Islands Ministry of Education which covers the volunteer cost, including airfare from a designated US departure city. You are correct that volunteers must pay their way to that US city. We clearly communicate this on our website, in pre-departure material, and through direct communication with volunteers that there is the responsibility to get to and from this gateway city. Additionally, all WorldTeach volunteer stipends are simple living wages for daily necessities, and extra costs are the responsibility of the volunteer. This of course requires some budgeting but the stipends are generally felt to be sufficient to cover the basic necessities.

WorldTeach highly values our Orientation, which starts upon arrival to the country and lasts 3-4 weeks, including teacher training, cultural and language immersion. This is an introduction to Teaching English as a Foreign Language; the real learning comes from teaching in the classroom. Volunteers learn to be flexible, as working in a foreign educational system can be very challenging as you have discovered. But when the volunteers have their own classes, there is the opportunity to connect with students, as obviously you have done, and to further their educations. Hopefully you have also seen where the failures are in the system, and have thought about ways that they might effectively be addressed.

Through the WorldTeach Department of Education, we are currently working to gather assessment data to show the impact that our volunteers have on their students. Progress is progress, in any quantifiable amount. WorldTeach is confident that we are in fact creating change for our students, and providing invaluable experiences for our volunteers.

Thank you again for sharing your response to this interesting but challenging program.

No, I don't recommend
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Amazing People, Amazing Experience

I'm a worldteach volunteer currently teaching at Rairok elementary school on Majuro 13-14. I have to say this experience has been one of the best in my life. I have met such incredible people, from my Marshallese host family, community members to other Worldteach volunteers (who come from everywhere in the world). The program is basically divided in two Outer Island and Majuro. Majuro is the capital and has most things youd ever need, while Outer Islands have practically nothing (with the exception of Kwajelin where the U.S military base is located).

You need to be open, mature and flexible as a definite requirement to come here. If you can be this, and relish being independent you can do very well here. The RMI is stunningly beautiful. Some people say that Outer Island life is the best, but I'd argue that Majuro offers a lot of insight and opportunities too. Getting away to Arno to experience outer island life and explore are major highlights for me. This as well as making some life long friends from Texas and Australia.

Apply, you really wont regret it!

How can this program be improved?
Don't spend so much!
Yes, I recommend
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Amazing Experience

I taught on the Arno Atoll in the Marshall Islands, in the town of Lukoj during the 2007-2008 school year. I was the first volunteer in that town, though not on the atoll. Arno is an outer atoll-meaning it has very limited resources and is very primitive. It is a 1-1 1/2 hr boat ride to the capital, Majuro.

My town was about 150 people, 45 of whom were in the K-8 school where I taught. I taught English to the K/1, 2/3, 4/5 and 6/8 classes (no 7th graders the year I was there), science to the 6/8 class for the first half of the year, and then math to the 8th graders for the 2nd half. The town was very appreciative of my efforts and were very supportive in a hands-off way. I was able to do more or less what I wanted with teaching. While there is a curriculum, the students were so far behind where they should be based on it, that I had to teach where they were. My 8th graders had difficulty with the 2nd grade English text books. The English text books we had were based for American students in American schools learning to read. They were not designed for learning English. I mainly created my own materials. We had a lot of construction paper, so I made bulletin boards from that. We did a lot of singing and interactive learning.

My host family was amazing and the highlight of my time there. They treated me like a daughter and when my parents visited, told them that they were my riballe (American) parents, while they themselves were my rimajel (Marshallese) parents. I had my own small hut on the family property. My mama cooked over a fire in the kitchen hut. We ate a lot of white rice with canned meat over it. My town ate a lot of canned tuna, but also canned mackerel, spam, Vienna sausages and other canned meat. Pancakes, homemade donuts, ramen and fish were also very common. I loved when my mama made local Marshallese food, which is delicious. Breadfruit, pandanus, and coconuts were also staples.

A typical weekday:
Wake up with the dawn/roosters
Write in my journal, get ready for the day
About 7:30-eat breakfast (pancakes topped with peanut butter, ramen, donuts, etc)
8:00--walk to school
8:15--school day started with group assembly, song and prayer
8:30--classes started. English, Math and Marshallese were an hour each. Science and Social Studies were 45 minutes each. I rotated to each classroom to teach English, as I did not have my own room.
Noonish--walk home for an hour lunch (rice topped with meat--either canned or fish)
1-2:30--finish school day
2:30-4:30 ish--lesson plan, prep for the next day, work in the mini school library I put together, hold English Club, etc
4:30 ish--play volleyball with the young adults and older students or take a walk on the beach and exercise
6:30ish--dinner (similar to lunch)
Dark--sit in my hut with solar powered light with my host family's kids (2 4th graders) and often other school kids. I tutored the 8th graders many nights, played cards with the kids, read, journaled, etc
9ish--went to bed

On weekends, I lesson planned, graded, etc. I took beach walks on Friday nights with as many students who wanted to come. This was a highlight of my stay. We'd walk down the beach, and at each house, kids would run up and grab whoever lived there to join us. By the end of the walk, we'd easily have 30 kids! They brought flashlights and ran around, holding my hands, singing songs, etc. It was awesome.

Sunday was church twice--once in the morning and once in the afternoon. My host father was the pastor, so I felt like I needed to go. Not all volunteers attended church, but it's a big community event, so many do.

The boat from Majuro came three days a week. If I wanted to go to the capital for internet, phone, etc I would leave Friday at lunch and return Monday afternoon. This meant I missed 1 1/2 -2 days of work. They were fine with it, but you couldn't do it that often. That was where I had electricity and access to the outside world. I got mail on the boat once every 2 weeks, but could mail out letters anytime the boat left (3x a week--I typically mailed out once a week).

The outer islands are very isolated. You have a radio to communicate with other volunteers and the office staff in Majuro, but mine was broken October-May. I could use the CB radio in an emergency if needed. So I missed out on the volunteer bonding that happened on the radio. Mail took a while to get from the US to the RMI, and then to my island. So I was behind on news. Mail day was amazing though. I lived for packages and letters from home! In Majuro, I could email or talk on the phone to my family and boyfriend. I went about 7 times over the course of the year.

I felt very safe in my town. There was pretty much no crime. I never had anything stolen, but I didn't leave anything in sight that could be borrowed. I had a combination lock on my house door. In Majuro, I was cautious at night, but again, there is not much crime. I imagine there is more theft and petty crimes in Majuro, but I wasn't there much.

I LOVED the giant Christmas celebration and all the 1st birthday parties.

I could talk on and on about my experiences. I LOVED it and highly recommend WorldTeach and the RMI experience to everyone.

How can this program be improved?
Each volunteer was supposed to have access to a radio to do weekly check-ins and be able to talk to other volunteers to help with isolation. Mine was broken October-May, so I missed out on that. The radio was funded through the DOE and was not WorldTeach provided. My program director tried to get it fixed, but it never happened.
Yes, I recommend
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It is what you make it

My experience in the Marshall Islands was a much different experience than many other volunteers because I was in faculty housing (not with a host family) and I was in Kwajalein - a more urban, populated area. For almost everything involved though, I can say this program is what you make it. We were told from the very beginning to be flexible and independent as much as possible - I was lucky because independence was easy. Many people complained about not getting enough support - I thought the amount of support I was given was fine. I have no complaints. The thing to remember here is that you have to make all the first moves. Marshallese people are generally very welcoming and I think they were glad to have us there, but they're shy. You won't usually be able to tell if they even like you. And as for teaching there - all I can say is if you are someone who takes things personally or you are expecting to do a lot of teaching - this is not the place for you. It is glorified babysitting every day. You have to have a real sense of humor in this placement. I would get so frustrated every day because I wasn't doing much teaching and it really ruined the experience for me, but I know other volunteers who took things in stride and loved teaching here. It depends so much on what you are like. This program is an easy pick because it's fully funded, but you should really consider carefully if it is the right program for you. I would not suggest this program to a friend, but I would absolutely suggest World Teach to a friend - just choose your location wisely. I chose the RMI out of convenience - If I could go back, I would still volunteer to teach, but I think I would choose a different program.

No, I don't recommend


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WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to...