Teaching English to refugee detainees at Naura


I am soon to complete my Master in General and Applied Linguistics from ANU, (the last of many degrees, BA, 3 Grad Dips, (DELTA, Applied Linguistics and Journalism), and I am considering what to do at the end of the year/next year.

To summarise, I have taught in 8 countries and have 15 years of experience teaching English as a second/foreign language. I have taught English for every purpose, but in the last few years I was mostly teaching academic English at university/college level, and then just before returning to Australia to study, I was also teaching work related English to Arab students in Abu Dhabi.

In order to supplement my income while I am studying, I am currently teaching refugees and migrants here in Canberra with Navitas. I also taught both groups of people before in Perth in years gone by for a catholic organisation and a neighbourhood centre, and spent some months volunteer teaching Cambodian refugees in Jakarta.

I have also been involved with volunteering in a village in Zanzibar, Tanzania since 2009, teaching there myself; organising people to donate 40 computers and then have them sent by Oman Air for free to Tanzania; coming up with business ideas for women's cooperatives; and organising for other volunteers to participate in helping the village.

Thinking back to my youth, I ran a youth club in Britain with rather 'difficult' youth. I especially enjoyed involving teens in drama pursuits and found it was a wonderful way to engage them if the content in the drama related to them. I could see that being something that could be a good pastime for not only the youth in the camp.

So, I was wondering if you have any advice you could give me regarding the best way to go about securing teaching employment on Nauru? Any other more general advice would also be gratefully received!

Obviously, with my extensive teaching experience and having lived in so many different countries, I am probably more well suited to adapting to the situation on Nauru than most. My experience with Zanzibar in particular means that I am unlikely to go into melt down when I see people having to live in very basic conditions.

The situation is what it is, and I should think a teacher who goes there can do the most good by firstly coping themselves with the difficult environment, and then endeavouring to alleviate to whatever extent, some of the daily trauma involved with life on the atol by showing an optimistic attitude and happy disposition against all odds. Easier said than done given the level of unhappiness one hears about there of course, but taking everything into consideration, exhibiting a positive, caring attitude without being insensitive, must surely be the most help if things don't look set to change in a hurry.

Thanking you for your time in advance.

Best wishes,

Sarah Brownsdon

Hey Sarah,

Maybe you should contact Save the Children or just visit the following website frequently. this is updated weekly.


hope you get something soon.

Thanks...keep me in mind if you hear of anything. I've been waiting to hear from one provider, but that link seems to have gone quiet for the time being...are things changing so fast on Nauru I wonder what with the political stuff going on...