Choosing to move to Alaska is a momentous decision. Not only do you have to consider how your daily life will drastically change, but you need to contemplate the realities of uprooting, leaving those you love behind, and the daunting tasks of purging, selling, and moving your stuff.
If you are considering moving to Alaska to teach, the first thing you need to do is research. Read About Alaska on the Alaska Teacher Placement website. Here, you’ll learn basic facts about teaching in Alaska and important terms. Next, read all about Teaching in Alaska including school districts, village locations, and adjustments you’ll have to make. This page also makes the point that “Two Alaskas Exist.” The two Alaskas are urban Alaska (Anchorage, Mat-Su, Fairbanks, Juneau, or the Kenai Peninsula) and rural Alaska (the vast majority of Alaska). This blog is mainly geared towards addressing rural Alaska since that’s where I’ll be moving.
While I was researching, I also did some searches about people’s experiences teaching and living in Alaska. I read blogs and forums and discovered that some people loved Alaska while others did not. Reading both success stories and horror stories helped me face certain realities about the rugged lifestyle in Alaska. These stories also helped me figure out where I wanted to live in Alaska. I recommend that you conduct some Google searches on your own and decide for yourself. Also, if you have any specific questions, you can post them on the Alaska Teacher Placement Forum (login as a guest if you don’t have a username and password).
After you’ve done your research and have a better idea of where in Alaska you’d like to live, you need to ask yourself some personal questions to see if you’re really up for the challenge.
Here are some questions I asked myself before I made my decision…
1. Are you craving adventure?
2. Can you successfully solve problems independently?
3. How do you cope being by yourself or isolated for long periods of time?
4. Imagine spending major holidays, possibly including Christmas, without extended family. How does that make you feel?
5. Do you enjoy meeting and socializing with new people?
6. Are you okay with extreme cold?
7. Are you a planner or a procrastinator?
8. Do you enjoy new experiences or are you a creature of habit?
9. Are you willing to part with some of your stuff and live only with the necessities?
10. Are you ready to fly by the seat of your pants?
If your answers are…
3. I cope well.
4. It makes me sad, but I can do it.
7. I’m a planner.
8. I enjoy new experiences.
…Then, in my opinion, you’re ready to start making your dream to move to Alaska a reality.
I have been traveling abroad since high school and have lived abroad for the past year. In my experience, being prepared and flexible are the two key components you need to make a big, unfamiliar move. I haven’t moved to Alaska yet, but I know that I’ll need to think about certain realities before I go so that I’ll be mentally prepared.
If you are intrigued by Alaska, conduct research about the realities of living and teaching in urban and rural settings, write a shortlist of places you’d like to go, and mentally prepare yourself, I think you need to seriously consider taking the plunge.
Find out why I’m moving to Alaska HERE!