A remote island chain in Melanesia, Fiji has developed into one of the most popular travel destinations in the South Pacific because of it’s natural beauty, laid-back culture, and relatively high level of development. Yet Fiji continues to stride slowly in the realm of education, where adequate funding and appropriate infrastructure remain chronic obstacles to servicing the entire population effectively. Enter international educators, who are welcomed from all over the world with open arms to help advance this effort while they teach abroad in Fiji!
Fiji encompasses an archipelago of some 330 islands and over 500 smaller islets in the Melanesian region of the South Pacific. The entire population of the country is roughly 850,000 citizens, and of the 110 inhabited islands, nearly 90% of these inhabitants live on the major islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Other nearby countries include New Zealand, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
Suva, the capital and largest city, is typically the most popular destination where to teach abroad in Fiji. With a diverse metropolitan population nearing 350,000 citizens, Suva also ranks in as the largest city in the entire South Pacific, and is a major hub of cultural, economic, and political activity. Suva’s branch of the South Pacific University is also the largest of any Pacific Island outside Hawaii!
Other destinations where you might look to teach abroad in Fiji include the smaller municipalities of Nadi and Sigatoka, which can offer a more intimate experience of Fijian culture away from the big city. It is also possible to teach abroad in Fiji’s rural areas, where you can live in a much smaller village and and immerse yourself in a way of life that roughly half of the country continues to embrace.
Teaching Jobs in Fiji
While the Fijian educational system is improving, it has seen some bumps in the road during recent years because of problems with government instability and inadequate infrastructure, among other lingering obstacles. Today education is free and compulsory to Fijians for eight years, and there is a continued effort to make higher education more affordable as well. International educators are happily welcomed to teach abroad in Fiji and help contribute to the ongoing effort to improve the accessibility of education for all.
The officially recognized languages of Fiji are English, Fijian, and Hindi. Because it is an increasingly necessary and valuable skill, and because it is not a native language among many citizens, most local positions are to teach English abroad in Fiji. International educators who are equipped with TEFL or TESOL certificates can find work teaching English abroad in Fiji at a variety of levels, from young students in primary school to adult learners at community centers.
Prior teaching experience is not always required, but can help you gain access to the best jobs. Many schools will also enable educators to branch out and teach subjects such as math and science, though demand is generally highest for ESL teachers among international applicants.
Salaries & Costs
Although Fiji is more developed than many of its neighboring countries in the South Pacific, the country still lacks adequate funding to pay most international educators a substantial salary. While there are some paid positions available at private or international schools primarily in Suva, most teaching jobs in Fiji elsewhere thus remain on a volunteer basis.
The good news is that you can often be compensated by other means while you teach abroad in Fiji, such as having the costs of transportation, housing, and meals partially covered. Fiji is also a largely affordable destination for international educators travelling from the industrialized world, so on-the-ground living costs will not prove too damaging.
Accommodation & Visas
Most who teach abroad in Fiji choose to live either in their own apartment or in a homestay. Both can have their pros and cons; while securing independent housing can provide a greater degree of autonomy, living with a local host family can alternatively provide for an incredible culturally immersive opportunity. Keep in mind that Fiji is also still developing infrastructurally, so do not expect an exorbitant degree of luxury (at least on a teacher’s compensation).
You will usually need to apply for a working visa in order to teach abroad in Fiji, and either your host school or program provider will typically endorse you throughout this process. For more information on Fiji’s specific visa policy towards your home country, check out our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Adventurous Travel. Fiji is a popular tourism destination for good reason; it’s breathtaking scenic beauty and vast adventure travel opportunities have few rivals to stand on our planet.
Making an Impact. Much more important than leisure time though is the impact you will be making through your work. If you believe education has the power to change the world, then come join the mission.
Adaptation. One of the major challenges of teaching abroad is adapting to a new country and culture, while dually gaining the confidence to stand in front of a classroom and deliver your daily lesson. Think you’re up to the task?
If you are ready for a global adventure that combines an eye-opening cultural education with valuable professional development and a laid-back island mindset, then teaching abroad in Fiji fits the bill. What more could you ask for while travelling the world?