WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Micronesia (past program)

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WorldTeach program in Micronesia
WorldTeach program in Micronesia

About

In Micronesia, there is a big need for volunteer teachers to teach math, science, English, health, and social studies classes. Teachers will be placed in various levels of schooling. Although English will not be the native language of most students, they will have varying levels of English from fluent to beginner; your classes will be taught fully in English. WorldTeach volunteers in Micronesia will be working in one of three states: Pohnpei, Kosrae, or Chuuk.

Our Micronesia program is fully funded by the Chuuk, Kosrae, and Pohnpei Departments 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.

Questions & Answers

I think the biggest challenge would be that the education system although based on the U.S. system often times has the goal of completiting a whole text book in a year. This is not the case often times in U.S. classrooms where chapters are skipped or the whole book is not completed. So as an Algebra 2 teacher I had to go over concepts from Algebra 1 and Geometry again so they could better...

Reviews

81%
based on 16 reviews
  • Benefits 8.2
  • Support 7.6
  • Fun 7.6
  • Facilities 7.9
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 16
Default avatar
S
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Away from everything

I chose this program because I had never heard of Micronesia before. An island in the middle of nowhere sounded beautiful. It was the perfect way to disconnect myself from the world. The nature was amazing. A lot of great sights from sunsets on the coast to waterfalls in the jungle. One of the most unique things is that there are not many dangerous animals so you can hike with relative confidence that you won't encounter anything dangerous.
Teaching was a challenge. There is not a lot of materials available so you have to get creative doing experiments and getting the kids excited about learning things. The lack of interest of many parents with their children education is a big issue. Some kinds will rely on you not only for their academic development but for emotional issues.
Sexism is a huge issue in the islands. As a foreigner you have a special status, so you are more protected. It can be hard to not be able to get involved when you see an unfair treatment of a woman though.
This program was amazing. It was a huge challenge and It made me realize I can tackle most problems that come my way. I met some amazing people that I am still in contact with and that have taught me a lot of great things. It is weird that I had to go to a place most people have never heard of to find people with the best life stories I have ever heard. It was thanks to the great expat community and the isolation from modern societies that made this experience so rewarding and magical. Definitively recommended.

What would you improve about this program?
More information and contact before the program starts. Something that was discussed with other volunteers was how we had fears the program was fake (to good to be true) until we were on the first plane ride to Hawaii.
Response from WorldTeach

Hello,

Thank you very much for leaving this review of your time in Micronesia! We are very glad to hear that you found the experience to be so rewarding, and we also appreciate your frank discussion of the challenges that come along with teaching overseas for a year, as well as the challenges that were specific to your community.

Thank you as well for the feedback about pre-departure processes! We will use this feedback to take a look at how best to communicate with confirmed volunteers prior to the program start.

That said, however, I think our staff would agree with you that the island programs seem "too good to be true" :-).

Best,

Caitlin

Default avatar
Dana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

When I decided to spend a year teaching abroad I put a lot of thought into which program I wanted to go through. I did a lot of research, took my time and eventually decided on WorldTeach. I was looking for a program large enough and experienced enough to ensure they likely had proper procedures and adequate contacts established but also one that was would allow me to to have fun and be independent without a ton of bureaucracy involved. WorldTeach was the perfect fit for me. I will not lie, it wasn't always easy. There are definitely certain conveniences you miss, expectations that aren't met and situations in which you are disappointed but overall, my experience was an amazing one.

I always felt safe and supported on the island of Kosrae while also having enough independence to pursue my own interests and create my own "family" in my home away from home. The headquarter staff were never more than an email away and always responded in a timely manner. Our field director was kind, supportive and knowledgeable of the local culture. I made connections on the island that will certainly last a lifetime and created memories I will never forget.

Spending time there through WorldTeach allowed me an opportunity to come to truly appreciate hard work, progress and accomplishment in ways I'd never known. The most satisfying part of the entire experience is knowing that I was able to help my students reach their goals of getting to college. Not simply because they will obtain a degree but because I am certain that those were the young men and women who would return to their island with the knowledge and ability to create sustainable, lasting, necessary change in pivotal industries including health care, education and government. That type of positive influence cannot be found in just any job or volunteer experience and, for me, it was made possible for me because of WorldTeach.

What would you improve about this program?
As many have said, more detailed information in the predeparture packet would be helpful. Perhaps putting volunteers in contact with host families before arrival on the island would be a plus and would ease some of the initial discomfort.
Response from WorldTeach

Hi Dana,

Thank you so much for including a review about your WorldTeach experience. I'm so glad to hear that it was a positive one. Beyond your own personal growth, it sounds as though you made an immeasurable impact on your students, and we're very proud that we could be a part of that.

I also love your idea about putting volunteers in touch with host families. This is something we would love to do, although it's not always logistically possible. I will bring that feedback to the Programs team.

We love hearing about ways to improve the program, so your insight is much appreciated.

Thanks Dana!

Best,

Caitlin

Default avatar
Max
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Chuuk High School

Chuuk is the largest country in the FSM and at Chuuk High School WorldTeach in partner with the local Department of Education and Department of Special Education served over 1000 students, the largest impact in the pacific area per volunteer.
The local environment is still very traditional with many elements of western life beginning to become popular. The economy is in general poor, not all people have enough to eat, and traditional family roles greatly impact the roles of men and women in society.

What would you improve about this program?
More on sight-training benefits every program. We also had many difficulties with communication and funding with the local government.
Default avatar
Derek
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Go it Alone

My time in Micronesia was a fantastic experience! However, this was not due to WorldTeach. In fact, going through WorldTeach added a lot of undue headache, and I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in volunteering in the Federated States of Mirconesia (FSM) to simply contact the schools directly and seek out employment, or go through a more reputable program like the Peace Corps.

I know that many people have had positive experiences with WorldTeach, but simply put, most of those volunteers did not serve in the FSM. While the FSM is a beautiful place, with wonderful people and a vibrant culture, WorldTeach did not live up to their pre-departure promises and were woefully unprepared to support their volunteers in country. Like other posts on this site, female volunteers during my tenure endured sexual harassment, which when reported to our director, went unheard. In fact, our field director admonished the volunteers victimized by sexual harassment and who had experienced multiple break-ins to stop contacting her and to instead, contact their landlord. At this point, it is pertinent to mention our field director skipped orientation sessions, disparaged the volunteers to WorldTeach office staff, thereby ensuring no sympathetic ear would head our security needs, altered a lease I had signed to exculpate WorldTeach from financial responsibility, leaving me on the hook if our employers failed to pay rent, and quit halfway through the year. And let's not skip over the "break-in" part, because that too was a major issue. Besides petty theft of sandals left outside, there were 4 major break-ins where doors were kicked in or safety bars ripped from windows, including one that was perpetrated by the very landlord we were directed to turn to in our time of need. At no point did WorldTeach conduct the safety assessment they promised, and instead, threatened to withhold future letters of recommendation if we continued to voice our concerns. These issues were not a result of one terrible field director, but indeed, the WorldTeach home office ignored our concerns of personal danger, which illustrates an institutional lack of regard for their volunteers. While none of the volunteers quit (except of course the field director), most of my crew believed WorldTeach was an unnecessary middleman that offered more harm than help.

All of these statements can be verified with email documentation and volunteer testimonials.

Response from WorldTeach

Thanks for your feedback. This is not a common occurrence for our more than 7,000 plus alumni who have served in 25 countries for 30 years around the world. We pride ourselves on running quality programs and are always looking for ways to enhance our volunteer's experience. Please contact us directly to provide more specific feedback.

Mc
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Pohnpei, Micronesia

Do your extensive research before signing up. I trusted the fact that it was a Harvard-run program, and was completely misled. I have volunteered and lived in Ghana, Cambodia and Thailand, and this was by far the SCARIEST and most UNPROFESSIONAL experience I have ever had abroad. I was offered no support by my field director, and I ended up resigning after being there for two months. I have some stories about an ex-pat nearly getting raped by a local guy, and a volunteer getting broken into twice, (once while she was in her bedroom at night). In my case, I was placed in a home where there was a kava bar in our front yard, owned and operated by my host family every night. Despite WT's policy PROHIBITING volunteers to be placed where there are drugs and alcohol involved, I was never offered a different placement, even after I had complained about it to our program manager in Boston. I had to deal with 10+ drunk men coming over all the time and harassing us throughout the night. I would get "night-crawled", which means there would be a stranger knocking on our window and yelling things to get our attention- and possibly letting him into our bedroom in the middle of night. Apparently, that was the "norm", but I was not physically nor mentally prepared for such thing. After witnessing and hearing stories of my fellow female volunteers getting sexually harassed, broken into and robbed, I could not go to sleep at night. I was terrified to close my eyes and pass out when it was dark out, knowing that there would be a few men drinking heavily right on my doorstep. My field director failed to change my placement and offered little support-to me, and all the other female volunteers who had similar SAFETY ISSUES. He was apathetic to my concerns because his experience as a MALE volunteer was very different from mine. On several occasions, he was caught talking to other ex-pats about how "dramatic" the female volunteers were being, when they would express their fear of being home alone. I highly recommend you go out of your way and speak with WT alumni and current volunteers on the island before you sign up. I am not the only person who has had an awful experience with WT abroad. There is a reason why they have not been able to retain a field director in Pohnpei for more than two years in a row. In fact, last year's FD only lasted about 6 months on the island, due to the rough living conditions she had to endure. If you would like to see real pictures of my placement and chat about the program, do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thanks.

Response from WorldTeach

Thanks for your feedback. This is not a common occurrence for our more than 7,000 plus alumni who have served for 30 years around the world. We pride ourselves on running quality programs throughout the world and are always looking for ways to enhance our volunteer's experience. Please contact us directly to provide more specific feedback.

Default avatar
Robyn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome program!

Amazing program at an amazing school in a beautiful country! One of the best experiences of my life; I even went back afterwards on my own to continue teaching in the community.
Didn't have the best support prior to departure, but feedback was heard and the staff in that role has since changed. They do a great job of hiring supportive and knowledgeable field staff (who are the real problem solvers during your service).

What would you improve about this program?
Pre-departure support was lacking slightly, but I believe this has changed due to feedback from participants. I had no problems, but I know others in my program did.
Default avatar
Matthew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Island life is the life for me

If you're thinking you want a taste of the island life, but still have some modern comforts like internet and grocery stores, then WorldTeach Micronesia might be your cup of coconut water.

The program in Kosrae is a great experience, and you can really make a difference at the high school. Getting to know the kids is probably the best part. Afternoons and weekends exploring the island is a close second.

Island life is a glorious slow-paced roller coaster of an experience for first-world/fast-paced Westerners. It's good to put things in perspective, to slow down, enjoy simple pleasures, and get a taste of a different way of life. It's paradise... if you can handle it.

If you want the hardcore island life experience, go to the WorldTeach Marshall Islands program for an outer island placement.

If you want the more developed island life experience, go to the WorldTeach Pohnpei program.

If you want the more populated island life experience, go to the WorldTeach Chuuk program.

If you want the quieter and slower paced island life experience, go to the WorldTeach Kosrae program.

Hope you have a great experience too :)

What would you improve about this program?
Every program can be improved... but mostly what it really boils down to is that you will get out of it what you put into it. Learn the language, make close friendships, and do your best to be happy. You're no good to people out here unless you are enjoying yourself.
Default avatar
Ashish
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ever supportive, never over bearing

Expect efficient processing by the home office and helpful, practical support by on site Field Director.
1.After an ego battle at work with a senior teacher about grading students, my FD gave me a no nonsense run down of the situation from an administrative stand point and wasn't being plain diplomatic to save face if things turned sour. Very hands on when required, giving plenty of space otherwise.
2. Some financial transactions that had to go through the home office went through very smoothly with a few emails and calls. Warm, real support at home and on the field.

What would you improve about this program?
Err... Maybe press schools to provide fans for all classrooms? Nothing really vital.