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Expat Advice: Living in Saipan, United States

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Beach Road, Saipan

An expat in Saipan advises newcomers to expect to feel isolated, bring enough money for plane tickets for an emergency, learn to snorkel, bring a camera and enjoy the lovely people and beautiful Saipan.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


How long have you lived there?

5 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Attending a church is a good way to meet people. Canoe clubs are popular, as are the local CrossFit gyms. Diving is big. The local school systems need volunteers, so this would be a way to meet and help people.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Local people in Saipan are nearly all Catholic. There are large populations of various Asian peoples as well as the indigenous Chamorro and Carolinians. Not many Americans. The culture is very friendly and accepting, but people's private lives are very private, so the acceptance is on a surface level according to our experience so far. The people are lovely.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Tourism is the main industry on this tiny island country. Wages are low, even for skilled workers. Today I saw a classified ad wanting to hire a full-time dive shop manager fluent in Russian and English, able to work on all kinds of machinery, And the salary offered was $1200/month. Facebook, incredibly, is where much housing/job information can be found that you would normally expect to find on Craigslist.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Bring a job with you if at all possible (online work). Or secure employment before you arrive. Be prepared for heat and humidity, feral dogs and chickens, limited shopping (bring your favorite mascara with you!). Bring a camera, learn to snorkel, keep enough money for plane tickets set aside all the time, in case you need to go elsewhere for medical care or to buy mascara. Be prepared for isolation. We are very far from anywhere else. But it is beautiful, the people are lovely, and it is a worthwhile adventure to live here.

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