American Samoa Program Profile
American Samoa is a U.S territory, which provides it access to America's federal programs. All of its schools, even those on the outer islands, have some internet access, text books and school supplies. Cell phone coverage is also available throughout the islands. In July 2008, WorldTeach, in partnership with the Department of Education of American Samoa, sent its first group of volunteers to teach various subjects in elementary and high schools on the islands. The program has since grown substantially due to local support and demand. WorldTeach is the first volunteer organization to forge a relationship with the Department of Education.
Volunteers have the opportunity to serve as teachers in public high schools teaching English. Volunteers must be flexible. While the Department of Education of American Samoa seeks to place each volunteer according to his or her preferences, the primary purpose of the program is to serve the local schools' needs.
English is the language of instruction for schools, but Samoan is the vernacular. American Samoa ranks in about the 40th percentile according to the Stanford Achievement Tests designed for Native English Language though there is a strong variation in the levels of English skills among students.
WorldTeach encourages all volunteers to become involved in extracurricular activities and community life. The activities outside of the classroom greatly enrich the overall experience. In past years, volunteers have engaged in tutoring programs, started math and science clubs, participated in student governments and coached sports teams. Numerous volunteers have prepared students for the SAT and ASVAB exams. After the tsunami in September 2009, volunteers took an active role in the relief efforts!
As volunteers in American Samoa are not teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, they are NOT eligible for enrollment in the WorldTeach TEFL certification Program.
Placements & Housing
Volunteer teachers may be placed at any of the public schools in American Samoa. The majority of volunteers are placed in schools on Tutuila – the biggest island in American Samoa. Volunteers are also placed in Manu'a and on Aunu'u – the smaller islands of the territory.
Housing accommodations vary in American Samoa. Some volunteers stay in a separate house on a family's communal land, while other volunteers have a separate room within the family's house. The majority of the volunteers are placed in groups of two to three per house. Even if not in an intimate host family situation, volunteers must recognize the importance of social life at home in Samoa.
Most volunteer housing is a relatively short walk or bus ride from their schools. Volunteer placements range from relatively rural, near the mountains or the ocean, to somewhat industrial, in the Tafuna/Nu’uuli area.
This program's volunteer commitment is funded by the Department of Education of American Samoa but volunteers are required to make a US$2,000 deposit, which will be refunded upon successful completion of the program. This generous funding covers the costs of pre-departure information and materials, round-trip international airfare from a designated U.S. departure city, supplemental overseas health and emergency evacuation insurance, an in-country orientation, 24-hour in-country support, and after-service support and networking.
A stipend of approximately $400 will be provided on a monthly basis to volunteers during the school year. This stipend is intended to help volunteers meet basic daily living expenses at the local standard of living.
Please read more about costs and services.
Volunteers in the American Samoa program must:
- Volunteers in American Samoa are required by the Department of Education to take the PRAXIS I exam before their program start date
- Be a fluent English speaker
- Have a bachelor's degree by the time of the program's departure
- Be between the ages of 21 and 74
- Be highly flexible, mature, and have a genuine interest in teaching