From: United States
1/16/2002 22:04 EST
I grew up on Saipan but left there in 1990. Rota and Saipan are two entirely different places. Saipan is a very big town compared to Rota, but where you choose to live depends on what you are looking for. This is a beautiful place but definitely one in the midst of change, massive development, and the consequent influences that the islands probably could have done without…
The primary business on Saipan is tourism and most of the tourists are Asian. Korean language skills will come in handy, as will Japanese. Hotel and hospitality industry jobs are probably what you will find there still. There is also the recent influx of foreign manufacturing facilities. The workers in these facilities are typically Filipino, Korean, and from the outer islands. There may be language teaching opportunities in these businesses, but I don't have any first-hand experience. (These facilities are also recently famous as U.S. sweatshops so it's a good idea to do some research.)
There are a couple of pretty good schools, so you might look into that if you are interested in teaching. I went to Mount Carmel, the island's Catholic school. My brother attended a small private school called Saipan Community School (http://spncomm.org/).
There are still a number of "expats" there, although their situations vary. Many are retired people looking for a tax shelter. Others work for the government in some capacity, since Saipan is a U.S. Commonwealth. Some are just folks looking for an adventure.
There are a couple of web sites you might check out:
Anyway, my information is somewhat outdated but I would be happy to share more with you if you are interested. You are welcome to give me a call (831-476-8818 -- I live in Santa Cruz, California now) or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck!
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