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micronesia
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 669
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy new year schwa,

It brought a smile to my face opening up this post again. I hope there is a place like Yap island for me, with similar working conditions, when I get a bit older (but unfortunately, I doubt it)!
Did you get back to Vancouver last Summer in the end?
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schwa



Joined: 12 Oct 2003
Posts: 164
Location: yap

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did & spent a great couple weeks. Sure felt nice landing back here again though. Tranquility Base.
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cbert



Joined: 14 Jan 2017
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:21 am    Post subject: Sounds like a good life, Schwa Reply with quote

Maybe we can come and visit sometime. I recently accepted a new position in Saipan, starting work this coming August.

Not sure your position would work for us (2 young children, just my income, no savings or retirement), but it sure sounds nice. Hopefully we can make things work in Saipan, which seems like an ideal spot for us (I am from the US, my wife is Filipina, so Saipan may be perfect).

Keep posting updates, please Smile

Peace,

cbert
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 81

PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is really interesting. I would like to make contacts with anyone currently there. It could be very random but also very nice.
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AmericanAmina



Joined: 15 Dec 2015
Posts: 104
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just love this whole thread. Schwa, I'm glad you found the kind of retirement you dreamed of. I'm only 42 now, but I can see myself enjoying that type of retirement someday. I love quiet places and a simple life. I hope you enjoy many more years to come in Yap.
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myrrha



Joined: 18 May 2016
Posts: 12
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

schwa wrote:

One person in Japan I PMed with this year is set to start at COM...


The person referred to is me. First, it should be no surprise to anybody here to learn that EFL Educator yet again has no idea what he is talking about.

Here's the basic hiring package at all campuses for the College of Micronesia (COM):

* free plane tickets out here for you and your spouse (plus free flights back every three years),
* an additional $2,600 for other moving expenses (handed to you in cash at the airport),
* free housing wherever you want to live on the island
* nice health coverage costing just $30 per month (yet still somehow includes emergency flights to Hawaii or Guam if special medical services are needed)
* a generous retirement plan (where you contribute 3% of your salary and the university then contributes an additional 5%),
* 5% raises to the salary base annually

Your base salary depends on qualifications and experience. Starting base salaries are not high (though are easily supplemented). That said, taxes are very low (10%) and expenses lower--more on this later.

With a pertinent PhD and 3+ years experience, you will start out with a base salary of about $25,000. (MAs will start even lower.) However, there are a number of work options to increase this base--e.g., I will be earning $33,000 this first year, of which I'll easily be able to save $20,000. This is where the low taxes and low costs factor in. I was making nearly $80,000/year in Japan working my rear off...and was lucky to save maybe $15,000/year. (Food, housing, utilities and taxes take a lot out of one's paycheck there.) Here, I find it hard to spend over $800 per month...and I'm living pretty darn well.

People are incredibly friendly. Strangers will come up to me in the street just to say hi and shake my hand. Assuming you like the native fruits and vegetables--as well as fish and pork--the food is cheap and the quality excellent. The students are usually great--though there are the occasional slackers! (That said, even the slackers here smile and shake your hand if/when you fail them.) The biggest EFL teaching need is in Academic English, particularly essay writing skills. Faculty generally teach 15 hours per week.

As for the five COM campuses, I'd rank their desirability as follows:

1) National Campus (Pohnpei)
2) Pohnpei Campus (Pohnpei)
3) Yap Campus
4) Kosrae Campus
5) Chuuk Campus

While the hiring package at each campus will be the same, Kosrae and Chuuk are slightly less desirable in terms of amenities, and (according to students and faculty) Chuuk can also be a bit scary at night.
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AmericanAmina



Joined: 15 Dec 2015
Posts: 104
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Myrrha, that sounds like a pretty awesome package deal to me! Enjoy your new life in the islands, and maybe you can give us some occasional updates like Schwa. I really enjoy reading this thread.
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myrrha



Joined: 18 May 2016
Posts: 12
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other thing, schwa provides a very accurate description of the lifestyle here. Even on Pohnpei, the pace of life is slow. People in general do not hurry anywhere. Weekends are either spent out in nature or at home eating and drinking with family and friends. Getting, say, Internet access, or repair work done to your apartment, or registering your car in your name can take days (sometimes weeks). Also, always assume everyone knows everything about everybody here. E.g., there is exactly one disco on this island--and if you do go, you should assume at least some of your students will be there too...and that everyone on the island will be talking about your dancing prowess (or lack thereof) for days (weeks/months) afterward. Embarassed

In other words, this lifestyle is not for everyone. If you like nature (the waterfalls, hills and ocean views are simply amazing), nice people, fresh fish, tiny bars (where everyone knows your name), long afternoons spent in gossip (or just curled up with a good book), etc., etc., this is the place for you.

Edited to add (in response to a pm question): The base salary for those with pertinent MAs will be between $16,000-19,000/year, depending on experience. The rest of the package will be as quoted above (including moving allowance, air tickets, yearly raises, etc.). This base salary is more than enough to live on, and you should be able to save something each year as well. (You will be able to supplement that too.) That said...this is not, say, the ME. You will not get rich quickly here. (The strong tone and substance of my first post was in response to the erroneous claims made by EFL Educator.) Moreover, I highly recommend that anybody curious about applying to open COM positions read schwa's many posts about living here first. I love life here so far...but then I'm older and ready to embrace a much more relaxed lifestyle.
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eca2



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:02 pm    Post subject: Where's Schwa? Reply with quote

Has anyone heard from Schwa lately? Schwa, where are you?
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schwa



Joined: 12 Oct 2003
Posts: 164
Location: yap

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solid additions to the thread, myrrha. Not sure yet what I'll do with my long summer break but I'm thinking of visiting Palau as a tourist, & maybe Pohnpei too to claim that beer!

My school is hosting an FSM-wide teachers conference in July & I'll be presenting at that. I'm hoping to convince some elementary school principals & teachers that they need to up their game in prepping kids for high school, with practical suggestions how.

I got a 20% raise last month which I took as a nice gesture of appreciation. I could make substantially more at the college for half the classroom hours, but I think I'm having an impact on impressionable teens & I'm in my comfort zone.
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schwa



Joined: 12 Oct 2003
Posts: 164
Location: yap

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy new year again.

A creature of simple habits, I'm still enamored with Yap. Something about living way off the map, the rhythms of island culture, year-round summer, waking to roosters.

Yap High & its fun students can always use another smart easy-going instructor or two. If feeling adventurous, PM me.
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Soundbite



Joined: 04 Oct 2016
Posts: 11
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to hear life is still good for you out there.

I keep dreaming of that kind of life, but I'm a long way from settling down and I'll need a few more years saving before I could take on a minimum wage.

Hopefully there's still a job like that when I'm a bit older!
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3897
Location: Pittsburgh

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

myrrha wrote:
One other thing, schwa provides a very accurate description of the lifestyle here. Even on Pohnpei, the pace of life is slow. People in general do not hurry anywhere. Weekends are either spent out in nature or at home eating and drinking with family and friends. Getting, say, Internet access, or repair work done to your apartment, or registering your car in your name can take days (sometimes weeks). Also, always assume everyone knows everything about everybody here. E.g., there is exactly one disco on this island--and if you do go, you should assume at least some of your students will be there too...and that everyone on the island will be talking about your dancing prowess (or lack thereof) for days (weeks/months) afterward. Embarassed

In other words, this lifestyle is not for everyone. If you like nature (the waterfalls, hills and ocean views are simply amazing), nice people, fresh fish, tiny bars (where everyone knows your name), long afternoons spent in gossip (or just curled up with a good book), etc., etc., this is the place for you.

Edited to add (in response to a pm question): The base salary for those with pertinent MAs will be between $16,000-19,000/year, depending on experience. The rest of the package will be as quoted above (including moving allowance, air tickets, yearly raises, etc.). This base salary is more than enough to live on, and you should be able to save something each year as well. (You will be able to supplement that too.) That said...this is not, say, the ME. You will not get rich quickly here. (The strong tone and substance of my first post was in response to the erroneous claims made by EFL Educator.) Moreover, I highly recommend that anybody curious about applying to open COM positions read schwa's many posts about living here first. I love life here so far...but then I'm older and ready to embrace a much more relaxed lifestyle.


What is the pay for someone only with a Bachelor's degree?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11382
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JZer wrote:
myrrha wrote:
The base salary for those with pertinent MAs will be between $16,000-19,000/year, depending on experience. The rest of the package will be as quoted above (including moving allowance, air tickets, yearly raises, etc.). This base salary is more than enough to live on, and you should be able to save something each year as well. (You will be able to supplement that too.)

What is the pay for someone only with a Bachelor's degree?

A bachelor's degree won't cut it. Per the College of Micronesia's website, minimum requirements are an MA in English, TESOL, or ESL from a US accredited college and two years of full time teaching experience.
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myrrha



Joined: 18 May 2016
Posts: 12
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nomad Soul is correct about the minimum qualifications.
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