WorldTeach: Marshall Islands Volunteer Teaching - Year

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Teach English, math or science in public schools around this unique island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean. Our Marshall Islands program is fully funded by the Marshall Islands Ministry of Education, excluding airfare.

Since 2002, WorldTeach in partnership with the Marshall Islands Public School System, has been providing volunteer teaching opportunities in the urban centers and remote outer islands of the Marshall Islands. The intermingling of tradition versus modernity is stark and the volunteer experience deeply depends on placement. An urban placement in Majuro or Ebeye is defined by the city and its more modern resources. An outer island placement is defined by the confines of the island and limited resources. The choice is yours, WorldTeach only places you on an outer island if you request a remote placement. In both settings, you will experience incredibly warm and welcoming people known for their exceptional hospitality and strong sense of community.

  • Experience island life
  • Fully funded, excluding airfare
  • Contribute to previous academic progress
  • Varied housing options
  • Earn an accredited TEFL certification (optional)

Questions & Answers

Great question, Samantha! You can do our year programs as long as you have a Bachelor's Degree in any field. It does not have to be in English or Teaching alone. Let us know if you have any other questions. -Alex, WorldTeach
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 39 reviews
  • Benefits 8.2
  • Support 8
  • Fun 7.9
  • Facilities 7.6
  • Safety 8.1
Showing 31 - 39 of 39
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No, I don't recommend this program

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.

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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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No, I don't recommend this program

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.

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Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
Don't spend so much!
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

WorldTeach Marshall Islands NOT about teaching!

Do not do this program if you actually care about volunteering or teaching!

WorldTeach is not supportive to the needs of their volunteers. Even though I was a volunteer, I was treated as if you I was working for the world's worse boss. The field director treated me as an inconvenience. I was left with no work for over a month and got stuck with the bill when I decided to leave early. They also tried to rip me off of my last monthly living allowance.

If you are planning to teach in the Marshall Islands you should do it directly through the Ministry of Education or the Dartmouth Volunteer Teacher Program.

Response from WorldTeach

We’re sorry to hear that you left such a beautiful place with such a negative experience. Please contact us at the head office ([email protected]) if you’d like to further discuss the details of how your time in the Pacific came to a close, and actively aid us in creating some solutions to ensure that each and every year, our volunteers have positive relationships with their schools, principals and fellow teachers. Aiding volunteers in building these relationships is imperative, as it’s these very communities that can be a great support system for new and seasoned teachers alike, not to mention the students that are counting on the commitment of a teacher in the classroom for the entire year. Ensuring that the students of our many programs can rely upon the commitment of volunteer teachers to be present the entire academic year means that we as an organization must be relied upon to be giving our volunteers the support they need. We thank you for your feedback.

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No, I don't recommend this program

Don't Do It

There are many hidden costs that WorldTeach does not tell you about. Expect to spend thousands of your own money. You will receive zero support from field staff once you are in county. Additionally, the Marshallese people do not want Americans in their country, they will not make you feel welcome.

Response from WorldTeach

We are very fortunate that our partnership with the Marshallese Ministry of Education affords our volunteers the opportunity to go out to the Pacific without the need of payment for the volunteer commitment fee. In response to volunteer feedback, we have been working to change our pre-departure literature to every one of our programs, to more clearly outline the additional costs that volunteers can expect as they prepare to go abroad and while they are in-country. Thank you for your feedback on how we can continue to improve the process of setting our volunteers’ financial expectations before they depart for their time overseas. Please contact us at the head office ([email protected]) if you’d like to discuss with us further how we can continue to improve and best meet the needs of volunteers. We’d also love to have your proactive input for ways we can work with our volunteers to better equip them with the tools for integration into a foreign environment. We’d like for all of our volunteers to experience the positive connection that so many have had with the Marshallese people.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

One Amazing Year on an Island

If you've seen the information about the program, you know that WT in the Marshall Islands is a 10-month commitment to teach either in Majuro, the capital, or on an outer island. My placement was on an outer island in Jaluit atoll.

I had an incredible time. Teaching is the purpose for the program, and teaching consumed most of my time and thoughts. It's not a vacation because it's where you live and work; all the palm trees and white sand in the world can't cure the frustrations that come with being a teacher in a new school that's underfunded and staff that's generally underqualified. Nevertheless, the joy you get from watching your students succeed and discover themselves is completely worth it.

Why Marshall Islands versus anywhere else? While you can have a classroom full of fun, brilliant kids in many places, only in the Marshall Islands can you...

-sail on traditional, reversible mast, handmade sailing canoes
-be sung to and and showered with gifts of coconuts and food with a welcoming party
-be professional because you wear a muumuu to work... every day
-go swimming and it's better than any trip to the aquarium
-watch exorcisms, learn about how to heal with coconuts, and all about Marshallese medicine
-celebrate Christmas by throwing food around and dance in the keyboard show choir
-learn to spearfish, netfish, troll, linefish with no pole, etc.
-have 180 days of tropical sunsets

True, it's volunteering, but in the outer islands the monthly stipend is enough to get by. You won't make any money but you'll have an unforgettable year.