Miriam: Alaska Pioneer


"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" Helen Keller....

To teach in the USA is a great opportunity and a great blessings. It is an experience of a lifetime not only from the location and cultural aspects of the position, but also from the personal adjustment that I have to make for myself. Specially I am in Alaska where full of nature, covered with mountains and forests and surrounded by the ocean and lakes 9 months of snow so you need to wear layered of clothings and a thick coats, snow, pants, non slippery snow boots and snow gloves fashion is not an issue here as long as you can protect yourself from cold of negative down down

your good to go but you seldom see the sun. 

But I never would have imagined throwing myself into rural Alaska to live and begin my teaching career here in the USA. I thought there was no way I would be able to survive so far away by myself. I travelled 17 hours from the Philippines away from my family 7 hours layover in L.A. 4 to 5 hours plane travel to Anchorage,AK then 2 hours in a bush plane or they call it here air taxi to the village where I am going to teach.  

To make it even more challenging, I now live in a village that I’m sure most people never heard of: Athabaskan native of Alaska. Their source of food is hunting moose and fishing. A very simple living.

My expectations probably would have been silly and slightly embarrassing. For example, my family and friends joked me that I would be living in an igloo.

My expectations weren’t as silly as that; however, they may have been involved riding with sled.

For those curious, they used snow machines or Hondas (not the car, what they call ATVs) when there is no snow, to be prepared to live conservatively. No road access to other villages but to ride in a plane, no shopping malls, no markets, no banks, you name it they don't have it here in the village what they only have is a small store. 

The store is small, and the prices are higher than you would find elsewhere. Another option is before going to your village you have to prepare everything, buy your things while in Anchorage, put it in a totes then ship it via USPS or post office ahead of you and it will come to the village 3 days or 5 days depends upon the weather. 

And another option is thru making a lot of purchases on Amazon seeing that is usually the cheapest option. And as funny as it is, even though Amazon prime promises 2–3 day shipping you will be lucky if you get the package within a month of your order placement date. 

To sum it up: changed expectations and simple living is key out here. 

I felt my experiences in the Philippines helped me prepare to have the mindset of working with students who knows only a very simple life. 

The biggest thing I can say is time and patience are two important skills I believe every teacher should adopt no matter with whom you work. I was able to learn so many things not only with the general work of being a teacher, but I was also able to learn more about the culture here. It is truly a unique experience I’m forever grateful to the Lord. 

Looking at the teaching side I can say is that some days will be rough, but you need to brush the dirt off and keep pushing forward. 

It is important to have an open mind and use every moment as a learning experience. 

I have learned so much. It’s so easy to get down on yourself, and this is something I have experienced my first-year here in rural AK; you need to remind yourself that you are also still learning. never stop learning and should never cut yourself off from learning — especially when it comes to improvements you can make it. 

So, never be afraid in what ever pace you are, take it as a challenge and blessings will follow you. Just try something new.

-Written by: Miriam 


Here are some points to ponder if you choose this state (according to Miriam)

  • Alaska is composed of different villages.
  • The capital of the state is Juneau. The Mainland. Not a village.
  • The biggest village is Anchorage, next is Fairbanks. *better villages- all the rest is smaller. 
  • Miriam is currently teaching in Iditarod Area School District, headquartered in McGrath, Alaska. (a smaller village).
  • Remember scenario #1? Majority of smaller villages have no establishments. 
  • Fishing is the way of living.
  • If you are planning on bringing your family - you may have to think twice, because there might be no work for your husband and she said the schools are not that good for kids too.
  • Sometimes, internet is also an issue in the villages.
  • Because she lives far from the city, she needs to stock food that is good for 6 months or pay a lot for the transportation to go to the mainland.
  • Miriam says: Alaska is best for single ladies and gentlemen.

More interesting info about Alaska:



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