- Weno, Micronesia, Federated States of
- Program Type:
- Intern Abroad
- Degree Level:
- Gap Year
- Academic Year, Fall Semester, Spring Semester
- Work Types:
- Program Description:
The program takes place in schools on the more environmentally unspoiled and traditional islands in the main lagoon of Chuuk State of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Interns either teach full-time or serve as assistants to local teachers. The program is either one semester long or for the entire academic year. Schools are very basic. Chalkboards are still used; there are minimal, if any, computer facilities; and, even textbooks and classroom supplies can be in short supply. While all this can be challenging, it also provides an opportunity for the Intern to be original in his or her presentation of classroom material.
Your host family will do everything in their power to make you comfortable even though housing will be more basic that what you are used to. For example, cooking is frequently done in an outdoor kitchen over an open fire. However, more well-to-do families might have cooking facilities and running water in their home. Whatever the case, families will always be gracious and generous in sharing what they have with you.
During your stay in Chuuk, you will essentially be a member of your host family. This will be a great experience for you and you will likely become very close to them. They will invite you to participate in community and church activities. You will also have the opportunity to learn traditional skills like weaving and cooking techniques for women and fishing for men. Generally speaking, the more involved you become, the richer your experience will be.
Aside from what you will experience by participating in the Teaching Assistant Program, there are many other reasons why your stay on Chuuk will be an experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Here are a few highlights:
The people. Chuukese are extremely friendly. When you walk down the village path, everyone will say hello. Small children might even tag along with you.
Culture. It would take a book to describe Chuukese culture (some have been written!). Perhaps most important, you will learn the importance of extended family and how it can impact daily life. You will also learn the special relationships between siblings and clan members. In addition, you might observe people working together on community projects (such as the building of a church). And, much more…
Perpetual summer. It is always warm on Chuuk. However, temperatures rarely go above 90. If you are in the shade and there is a gentle breeze blowing, nothing could be better!
The islands. There are over 20 inhabited islands (as well as many uninhabited ones) in Chuuk lagoon that you might be able to visit. All are a little different and a local person can even discern slight differences in the languages that are spoken on some groups of them. There are another 20 or so atoll islands outside the main lagoon. Some are over 100 miles away and life on them is much more traditional than what you will experience in the lagoon. A few are accessible by a small aircraft and the program coordinator might be able to assist you in arranging a visit. It would be a memorable time for you.
Diving. The marine waters in Chuuk are crystal clear. So, swimming and snorkeling are at your doorstep every day of the year. There is also the opportunity for SCUBA diving. Chuuk is known as the wreck diving capital of the world because of the large number of WWII vintage Japanese vessels that are sunk there. It is possible to rent SCUBA gear and go on a guided tour of selected wrecks by means of dive agencies on the main island. You must be certified to dive.
Travel. If you plan to stay for an entire academic year, in addition to traveling to the more remote islands in the State, you will have time to travel to Guam or Pohnpei via jet. Guam is the “big city” for Chuukese. Pohnpei is the capital island of the Federated States of Micronesia and is different from Chuuk in many respects.
- Setting Description:
- The program takes place on the islands in the main lagoon of Chuuk State of the Federated States of Micronesia. These do not include Weno, the business/government/educational/medical/transportation center of the State. However, program sites are all less than an hour away from Weno by speedboat. So, there is ready access to the services offered there. The program islands are relatively unspoiled and are quite scenic. Villages are located along the waterfront with the mountainous interior areas of the islands allocated to tree crops (primarily breadfruit and coconut). Homes are modest. Typically they are small wood frame structures with corrugated metal rooftops. More well-to-do families might have a reinforced concrete home (for resistance to occasional but severe typhoons). There are few, if any, vehicles on the islands. This contributes to the friendly atmosphere that exists in the island villages. Everyone knows everyone else, not unlike a small country town in the US.
- $5,900 per academic year or $3,950 per semester USD. Tuition does not cover the cost of travel between your point of origin and Chuuk. Likewise, it does not cover the cost of room and board at the Blue lagoon Resort (or other hotel) at the beginning and end of your stay on Chuuk.
Additional Program Information
- You must be a US citizen in order to participate in the program. This greatly simplifies entry to and exit from the Federated States of Micronesia as there are no visa requirements for US citizens and you can remain in the country as long as you like. You must have a US passport.
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