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WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Micronesia (past program)
78% Rating
(13 Reviews)

WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in Micronesia (past program)

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from WorldTeach.

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.

Locations
Oceania » Micronesia
Length
6-12 Months
Salary / Benefits
• Pre-departure literature & preparation
• Comprehensive visa sponsorship & assistance
• Health & emergency evacuation insurance
• Orientation Training
• Support from full time in-country staff
• Professional development with Teacher Quality
Coordinator
• Meals & housing during training and conferences
• Transportation to and from placement site
• Monthly stipend
• Housing at placement site
• Mid-Service Conference
• End-of-Service Conference
• Option to get TEFL certified in some programs
• *Select programs include international airfare from a
U.S. gateway city
• Volunteers receive a stipend of $300 USD/month
Accommodation
Host Family
Currency
USD
Other Locations
Pohnpei, Kosrae

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 understa...

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    79%
  • Support
    75%
  • Fun
    75%
  • Facilities
    82%
  • Safety
    82%

Program Reviews (13)

Default avatar
Derek
Male
34 years old
Okemos, MI
University of Michigan

Go it Alone

1/10

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
Female
29 years old
New York, New York

Pohnpei, Micronesia

1/10

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
Other
University of Richmond

Awesome program!

9/10

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).

How can this program be improved?

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
Male
32 years old
Kosrae, Micronesia
University of Vermont

Island life is the life for me

10/10

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 :)

How can this program be improved?

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
Male
32 years old
Bangalore, India
Purdue University

Ever supportive, never over bearing

8/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

Err... Maybe press schools to provide fans for all classrooms? Nothing really vital.

Default avatar
Ali
Male
32 years old
Germany
Southern New Hampshire University

Share is scare...

9/10

While you're in Pohnpei. You got to hear this slang many times from friends ,students and locals. Pohnpeian are generous people. I can give many examples of their kindness. No doubt! yet no one told me what does it mean? I guess it an mysterious island to me after all.

How can this program be improved?

Pre-departure.

Default avatar
Ben
Male
32 years old
Washington, DC
American University

A great Micronesian expierence

8/10

Being the first full year group on Pohnpei, Micronesia had its challenges and rewards. Certainly the students, people, and fellow teachers are very welcoming on Pohnpei. My teaching life as an Algebra II teacher was really good and I feel I had an impact on my students then and even 7 years later as I write this.

WorldTeach now has a very successful program in Micronesia and I highly recommend this program to anyone looking to have a unique year volunteering and teaching. You even get the added bonus of experiencing a small Pacific Island culture.

More information on my year volunteer teaching as part of this program can be found at www.worldreviewer.com/travel-guides/conservation/teaching-in-pohnpei-mi…

How can this program be improved?

Better language training and preparation on classroom material which I am sure happen now as we were the first full year group in this program.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this helpful review!

Our Department of Education now creates a curriculum designed to work in accordance with the local standards of each country where we teach, and within each school setting and student age. These curricula materials are reviewed during Orientation, and provided to each volunteer. Additionally, our Teacher Quality Program ensures that each volunteer is assigned to a Coordinator who is located in the US office. This Coordinator is a current student pursuing their Masters in Education, with prior international teaching experience. The Coordinator is responsible for communicating with the volunteer to review monthly lesson plans, answer questions, address classroom concerns, and provide additional resources for specific lesson plans or language topics. The coordinator is also available for Skype sessions to speak with the volunteer

During the initial orientation upon arrival, volunteers receive local language training: language classes are held each day for about 1-2 hours, which totals around 20 hours of language immersion. However, the focus of orientation is on teacher training (including 40-50 hours of TEFL training, and 15 hours of teaching practicum), and not the local language. After orientation ends, the volunteer must continue dedicating him/herself to language immersion; it is often times very easy to find language exchange partners who will teach you their language in exchange for English language tutoring. The goal is to always be speaking English with students, but there are plenty of opportunities for language immersion outside of the classroom in the larger community.

Default avatar
Lindsey
Female
24 years old
Currently Nosy be, Madagascar, but normally Illinois
Bradley University

Kosrae (Island of the Sleeping Lady), Micronesia

10/10

Kosrae

I will start off by saying through WorldTeach in Kosrae I had an amazing year, and I would not change anything about it for the world. I really enjoyed my time there because the volunteers were amazing, other expats were so helpful and friendly, the locals were always so kind, the organization itself provided lots of support, the school staff were friendly, and my host family was amazing!!

A typical day involved me getting up with my host family and eating breakfast. I would then ride my bike the short distance to school (bringing a rain jacket is recommended). I would arrive to the school around 8, and school did not start until 8:30. This gave me time to get my board prepared, and tie up any loose ends before school started. I would teach three sections, have 4th period as a prep, lunch, and then teach three more sections. The day usually ended by 2:40, except on Friday. During third and fourth quarter I tutored for two hours after school. After school I would ride my bike home, take a quick shower, maybe grab a snack, an then ride my bike to the volunteer house. I would socialize with the other volunteers and get some internet for a little while. I would then ride my bike back home, where I would grade some papers/ relax for a little while. I would then end the night eating dinner and watching tv with my host family.

The weekends were free to do with what I wanted. The was a really nice expat community, and we would usually get together on Friday night at one of the hotels for food and drinks. This was some nice time to unwind after a long week. The rest of the weekend could be spent hiking, going to waterfalls, climbing a giant tree next to a waterfall, swimming, snorkeling, diving, or going to a local barbecue. There are a lot of fun cultural events that happen throughout the year. In September there is liberation day, which a weekend spent playing games, eating food, and spending time with friends and neighbors. In December there is Christmas Marching, this is really fun. In Lelu Village the treat visitors very kindly. They give away lots of gifts and trinkets, they also do not mind if you get involved and march and sing with them. This is what I did. It was a wonderful way to spend Christmas away from family. There are also track and field days, markets, and cultural days. All which are very fun.

Kosraean people are very kind and giving. They will always offer you food and invite you to picnics. If you are walking on the side of the road they will stop there car and ask if you want a ride. It is very safe in Kosrae. I never felt in danger. There were times I would be riding my bike back home in the dark and I always made it home safely.

Overall I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Kosrae, and I know that many of the volunteers in my group were very sad to leave. It is a special place, and really is the gem of Micronesia. One things to keep in mind is Kosrae is very conservative. Respect the culture and their beliefs and you will have no problem.

Hope you enjoy your time if you visit Kosrae

Best,

Lindsey

How can this program be improved?

Working together and developing a curriculum wold greatly help the school, and guess what??? This is already in development. You can work together to make Kosrae High School the best it can be!

Default avatar
A.
Female
42 years old
Moving to D.C. area in August
Beloit College

A Wonderful WorldTeach Experience In Pohnpei

10/10

I started in 2009 as a WorldTeach volunteer and was Field Director the following school year. My volunteer year was one of the best of my life. I love my teaching site (though it was very challenging) and I learned a lot about myself as a teacher. I fell in love with my students at the local high school. Really bonding with and believing in them despite the many obstacles was the key to me loving my site despite the lack of many resources. For instance, it was almost impossible to get photo copies made, my chalk board was so deteriorated that I could hardly write on it, and most days there was no electricity. Often, there was no water or access to toilets and bug infestations were also a problem. Still, I worked hard everyday with my students and eventually saw great results. I only hope I inspired my students as much as they inspired me! It really was one of the best years of my life, but I walked into it truly ready for anything.

As far as Pohnpei itself goes, I absolutely loved it too! In fact, I ended up staying five years total. Pohnpei is certainly not for everyone, but if you make it your goal to keep and open mind and make as many local and expat friends as you can, you should have a blast!

For me, being a vegetarian on Pohnpei was possible, but not super easy. My favorite social activities were fishing/boating, camping, hiking, and hanging out with friends of all kinds both from Pohnpei and around the world. If you are an outdoorsy person, bring your gear. If you are adventurous, you will have many chances to use it. That being said, you usually have to create your own adventure. There are not many pre-packaged tourist-type options--at least not many that can be done consistently on a budget.

Pohnpei can be truly easy and fun living. If you are in Pohnpei and stressed out by your surroundings, look back at yourself. You are likely putting yourself in that mindset! Relax, smile, and have fun. WT will be there to support you and you WILL make a wonderful difference in the hearts and minds of many of your students if you give it your all. Success might come in unexpected ways and after some time, but it will come if you put your heart into what you do. Believe in yourself and your goals, but at the same time don't take yourself or your personal agenda too seriously. Be ready to change course as needed.

I have recently left Pohnpei after five wonderful years, and I look forward to the day I will go back and visit or even live there again. I am so happy that I decided to do the WorldTeach program, as it has taught me so much about myself, allowed me many fun experiences, and ultimately ended up opening many doors for me both professionally and personally. If you are considering living in Pohnpei as a teaching volunteer, WorldTeach is definitely they way to go!

How can this program be improved?

I think that WorldTeach does an excellent job managing expectations of what teaching in a developing nation will be like. Unfortunately, some volunteers don't read all of the provided pre-departure material and, therefore, are taken off guard by what they actually experience compared to what they think they should or will experience. Me sure you read all of the wonderful pre-departure materials that WT provides as means of managing your own expectations. Finally, if you are not flexible and do not have an open mind, teaching abroad in a developing nation may not be for you.

Default avatar
David
Male
57 years old
Michigan
Michigan State University

Volunteer Experience was Powerful

9/10

Anyone wondering if it is worth their time to volunteer for teaching in Micronesia, if you ask me the answer is yes. The weather has extremes, from intense sun to dense rain, but most of the time there are enough clouds and breeze that relief is commonplace.
The people are easy, the pace is comfortable, and, as long as you are not looking for the purest of luxury (which may be available if you have your own money, but not on a volunteer stipend) you can find what you need and do what you want.
I was not out to save the world, but I was looking for a way to get to the tropical islands and still do something worthwhile. WorldTeach provided that for me. I am forever changed, and I am forever grateful.

How can this program be improved?

Better information for realistic day-to-day living would have been helpful. Living in Kolonia, Pohnpei, life was more dynamic than on smaller islands and atolls. As well, needs are more easily met than in the other locations. Yet, much of the information sought to prepare me for something else.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you for taking the time to leave this helpful review. In regards to providing realistic information on day-to-day life in Micronesia, WorldTeach provides an extensive country profile in our pre-departure literature, including a cultural, political, economical, and social analysis. Each specific placement region within each country is also addressed in this literature, and orientation allows for a further introduction to the realities of living in-country. However, the real learning can only truly begin once you've arrived at your placement, because this is where you make the experience your own.
Thank you for bringing this important matter to attention!

Default avatar
Maria
Female
57 years old
I'm in Ireland!
Other

My experience in Micronesia

8/10

Overall my experience was very good. I really enjoyed the teaching and felt that I was able to do a good job. I felt a bit isolated as I was the only person from my country and I was older than most of the other volunteers.

How can this program be improved?

I have no complaints about the program. If it was possible to increase the monthly stipend it would be great.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review. Our monthly stipends vary by country to ensure that each volunteer is able to meet the cost of living in their specific placement location. Each year we analyze the local currency/exchange rate, cost of living, and volunteer feedback in order to devise the stipend. Therefore, if deemed necessary, the stipend may possibly increase. The stipend is often times similar to the salary of local teachers where the volunteer is serving. It is of course a living stipend and not a full salary, but allows the volunteer to meet his basic needs.
Thank you so much for bringing this important topic to our attention.

Default avatar
Makenzie
Female
32 years old
Minnesota
Other

WT Kosrae

10/10

I had an amazing year in Kosrae, Micronesia. I taught 10th and 11th grade Geometry and Algebra II, which is exactly what I had wanted to teach. I taught the honors students who were college bound and thus proficient in English (they had strong speaking skills but struggled more with English writing). My largest problems as a teacher were attendance and students not doing their homework, but never disrespectful behavior to me or each other.

The first few weeks during orientation, we lived with host families, which turned out to be crucial for me in understanding the culture and where my students were coming from. I then moved into an apartment with three other volunteers. These girls became my "soul friends" as I now call them. We cooked all of our own meals, except for special occasions when we went to one of four restaurants/bars on the island (three run by expats and one local) or to community and church events. There is one road that goes around the circumference of the island - everyone lives off of that road so there are no addresses. We spent our free time riding our bikes around the island, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, getting scuba diving certified, learning ukulele, watching movies, reading, running after school clubs, tutoring, spending time with our host families, etc. It's a small island but with being a first year teacher and all of the adventuring that could be had, I never got bored. It was a very impactful year on my life.

How can this program be improved?

Like another reviewer said, I had no curriculum whatsoever to work with, so that would be my one place for improvement. A lack of resources, etc was expected, however, with teaching abroad. Otherwise, the program itself is extremely well run - I had a support system in country and out. WT puts their confidence in their volunteers and gives them the independence to run with their ideas.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review.

Our Department of Education now creates a curriculum designed to work in accordance with the local standards of each country where we teach, and within each school setting and student age. These curricula materials are reviewed during Orientation, and provided to each volunteer. Additionally, our Teacher Quality Program ensures that each volunteer is assigned to a Coordinator who is located in the US office. This Coordinator is a current student pursuing their Masters in Education, with prior international teaching experience. The Coordinator is responsible for communicating with the volunteer to review monthly lesson plans, answer questions, address classroom concerns, and provide additional resources for specific lesson plans or language topics. The coordinator is also available for Skype sessions to speak with the volunteer.

Thank you again for your time, as it is important to note that WorldTeach's main concern is providing support to its volunteer teachers.

Default avatar
Emily
Female
32 years old
Brooklyn, NY
Tufts University

WT Pohnpei 2011-2012

9/10

I spent the year teaching in Pohnpei, Micronesia in 2011-2012 and had a great experience! After returning the US, I became a teacher in large part due to my experience in Pohnpei. Plus, my younger brother is about to leave for his year in Kosrae through WorldTeach in a two months!

On island my year, there were ten volunteers (ages 21-60s) spread out among three public high schools and the College of Micronesia, and each of us lived with one other volunteer in a local apartment. You can drive around the island in about two-three hours, so the WT volunteers (along with Peace Corps and Jesuit volunteers) would often meet up on weekends.

I taught at the main, regional high school in Kolonia, the largest town on island. Although I signed up to teach math, I ended up switching to 12th grade English just before the school year (which I was happy to do!). I had Pohnpeian students as well as outer islander students who lived in the dorms during the school year - at one point, my students and I counted that amongst us, we spoke 8 languages! My classes had between 18-36 students and my students were wonderful and well-behaved, if lacking on essay writing skills. I also took over the College Prep club that a previous WT volunteer started at my school the year before. My students always hung out in my room during lunch and even taught me how to play ukulele!

Besides teaching, volunteers spent our free time reading, playing ukulele, hiking, and hanging around in general - island life really teaches you how to sit still for long periods of time :) Kolonia has a tiny movie theater, library, a couple bars, and a small expat scene, but otherwise, Pohnpei's really isolated. It's too expensive to ever leave Pohnpei during the year, but we did go camping on some of the smaller nearby islands (2 hour boat ride) on weekends and holidays which were the absolute most picturesque tropical paradises that you can imagine! Otherwise, take note that Pohnpei has NO beaches and is one of the rainiest places on earth!

How can this program be improved?

Can't think of anything off the top of my head on WorldTeach's part. It would have been nice to have more teaching materials (curriculum, etc.), but I think that's been improved since! Honestly, WorldTeach is an amazingly run program :)

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review!

Over the years, our WorldTeach Department of Education has dramatically strengthened our Teacher Quality Program.

During orientation, volunteers are provided with curriculums that have been designed to work at each school level (primary, secondary, adult, etc) within each individual country, working within the cultural and academic values of each country. This way, volunteers have the materials needed if their schools don't have existing curriculums in place, or need adjustments and new materials.

Additionally, volunteers are in constant contact with their Teacher Quality Coordinator in the U.S. office, who is currently pursuing his/her master's degree in Education, and often has international TEFL teaching experience in that specific country. The Teacher Quality Coordinator is available to critique lesson plans, answer questions and concerns about class dynamics, provide additional resources, all to give the volunteer more support in the classroom.

Thank you so much for your time!

WorldTeach

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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 serve as volunteer teachers around the

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