GEP Vanuatu

  • Program dates: 16 June - 8 July 2017.
  • Port Vila, Efate Main Island

GEP Vanuatu coordinators

John Cripps-Clark

Vanuatu students

Situated in the South Pacific region and some 4 hours flight time from Melbourne, the Republic of Vanuatu is a multicultural island nation of about 260,000 people living on an archipelago of 90 islands. Participants in the Vanuatu Global Education Program can be expected to be challenged not only by the beauty of living on a tropical island but also by the many issues confronting this small, poor nation as it emerges from decades of colonial rule.

Vanuatu GEP

GEP Vanuatu is available to undergraduate education students who would be eligible to study either EPP304, ETP302 or EEG302 in 2017. 

Course name Unit approved for Vanuatu placement Elective unit - enrolment in Trimester 3
Bachelor of Education (Primary) E359 ETP302 Curriculum Inquiry EEG302 Place, Culture & Teaching in a Global Context
Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary)/ Bachelor of Arts D347
Bachelor of Teaching (Science)/Bachelor of Science D351
EPP304 Ways of Knowing Children and Adolescents EEG302 Place, Culture & Teaching in a Global Context
Only for D347 students with space for an education elective.
Bachelor of Health and Physical Education E377 EPP305 Policy, Schooling and Society (T1 2018 enrolment) Elective only available as an additional credit point in course.

Students will be asked to nominate in their online application which unit their GEP Vanuatu will be contributing. 

Plan your course. Talk to a Course Adviser for course planning advise and Professional Experience about which practicum unit/s you will have available.

Program overview

The Program

“It has been easily the most culturally enriching experiences of my life and I couldn’t recommend it enough. … I’ve come away with a much greater skill set and a confidence in myself as a teacher that I don’t believe I could have got without this experience. It has changed my life.” Peter, 2014

The teaching program in Vanuatu takes place usually in June-July on the main island of Efate and requires a high degree of cultural sensitivity and respect for a wide range of diverse cultural practices. The benefit is that you will develop new perspectives on yourself as a teacher in a context challenging curriculum and pedagogies. There are few of the 'normal' teaching and learning resources and participants in this program need to show initiative, flexibility, adaptability and a sense of humour when working with local (ni-Van) students and teachers.

Teaching in schools in Vanuatu is a challenging experience. Most of the schools are located in the capital, Port Vila. There are opportunities to teach in primary, secondary and early childhood schools. The classroom language of instruction is English, but outside students and staff will speak the national language, Bislama as well one or two indigenous languages, and often French. The Vanuatu Department of Education is strongly supportive of this program and individual schools will warmly welcome your involvement.

Classes start at 7.30am and finish in early afternoon. Students are keen to learn, you will often just have a blackboard and chalk and class sizes are often large and the rooms are hot. Schools are often poorly resourced with few computers, and limited classroom resources or sporting equipment, although the larger secondary schools may be better equipped.

It is unlikely that you will know what you will be teaching before your arrive at your school, so taking some resources about Australia is strongly advised. What you will teach will be negotiated with your supervising teacher and the GEP leaders.

Accommodation is in a tourist lodge in the capital, Port Vila, close to shops and with a pool and access to sea swimming and kayaking. Over the three-week program there are lots of opportunities to experience the many attractions of Vanuatu.

Itinerary for 2017

Frid16th June – flights from Melbourne to Port Vila* 

17th -18th June –settle into the accommodation and locate selves in Port Vila; Saturday walk to the Market; Sunday Church (voluntary), Waterfall trip Sunday afternoon*; First Group Reflection; Sunday Dinner at L'Houstalet Restaurant* 

19th – 23rd June – first week of teaching 

  • Mon 19th June – Language (Bislama) workshop, visit schools and meet classes & supervising teachers*, Tour of Won Smolbag* (volunteering for Yut Senta) 
  • Tues 20th - Teaching in schools 
  • Wed 21st - Teaching in schools, Teaching reflection 
  • Thur 22nd - Teaching in schools, Sports and Arts after-school activities – Kawenu 
  • Fri 23rd - Teaching in schools, Australian High Commission BBQ*, Beach Bar – Fire Show 
  • Sat 24th - Round the island tour* 
  • Sun 25th - Day of rest, Church (voluntary), Second Group Reflection

26th – 30th June – second week of teaching 

  • Mon 26th - Teaching in schools, WanSmolBag Volunteering 
  • Tues 27th - Teaching in schools 
  • Wed 28th - Teaching in schools, Teaching reflection 
  • Thur 29th - Teaching in schools, Sports and Arts after-school activities – Freswota 
  • Frid 30th - Teaching in schools 
  • Sat 1st July - Day of rest, Snorkeling at Hideaway Island* 
  • Sun 2nd - Day of rest, Church (voluntary); Third Group Reflection; evening - Kulcha village including singing, dancing, feasting*

3rd – 7th July -  third week of teaching 

  • Mon 3rd - Teaching in schools, WanSmolBag Volunteering 
  • Tues 4th - Teaching in schools
  • Wed 5th – Teaching in schools, Teaching reflection
  • Thur 6th– Teaching in schools, Sports and Arts after-school activities – Central 
  • Frid 7th – Final day Teaching in schools, Celebration with teachers*; Debrief in detail; Final celebration dinner*

Sat 8th July - Fly to Melbourne

* = included in price


Approximate cost


Students may be eligible for a faculty travel grant, up to a value of $500. See Funding your WIL experience.

What is included in the program price

  • Return flights
  • Shared accommodation
  • Group transport
  • Several cultural and tourist activities
  • Travel insurance for length of the program
  • Your contribution towards Vanuatu school gifts from Deakin University
  • A Deakin shirt, so we travel easily as a group 

Items not included that the students should budget for

  • Unit enrolment fees
  • Passport and Visa fees
  • Vaccinations and travel medications
  • Spending money
  • Any additional tourist activities
  • Transport (to and from school and private excursions)
  • Meals not specified on the itinerary

Important dates

Applications open: Monday 6th March 2017.

Applications close: Sunday 26th March 2017.

Interviews: During week 3-7 April, 2017. Offers to be released shortly after interviews.

GEP Vanuatu group meetings (both sessions mandatory for all participants):

  • Sat 22nd April 9:00am - 4:00pm Burwood.
  • Mon 29th May 10:00am - 4:00pm Geelong Waterfront.

Deakin Abroad Pre-departure session: TBC

The Schools


All schools in which you will teach are indigenous. You will teach ni-Van students and be supervised by ni-Van teachers. Teaching is in English and covers the full range of subjects that you would teach in Australia. Both students and teachers will have learned two or three languages and your Schools vary from being desperately poor to relatively well resourced.

Classes sizes can vary from the mid twenties to mid forties. Malapoa College and Vila Central School both have boarders from all over the archipelago living in very basic conditions. Vanuatu was an English-French Condominium and as a consequence has two, until recently, separate school systems. If you are fluent in French then you have the opportunity to teach in a French speaking school. You will be teaching, with another student at one of the following schools:

Freshwota  School K – 10

8:30 – 2:30

The largest school in Vanuatu, a dual English – French school set in the centre of the vibrant but poor Freshwota community. True to its name it is treacherous during wet weather.

Ifira School 1 – 10

8 – 2:30

In the centre of a beautiful island community in Vila harbour, you will travel by small boat to school across the stunning blue of the harbour.

Kawenu School K – 8

7:30 – 2

A small school set on the harbour next to the Teacher's College and Malapoa College. They pride themselves on their sporting prowess, particularly cricket.

Malapoa College 7 – 13

7:30 – 3 (Mon 4)

Port Vila's only secondary college with students from every island. You will find these students very quiet to start off but they are eager to learn.

Vila Central K – 13

7:30 – 2:30

Within walking distance of our accommodation this is the best resourced school in Vanuatu. You will even see a few white faces among the children.

Vila North K – 12

7:30 – 2:30

The second biggest school in Vila set in a vibrant and aspirational community.

Vila East 1 – 10

7:30 – 2:30

Although a poor school with large classes and few resources there is a great sense of staff solidarity and it is within walking distance of our accommodation.

Mele Maat K – 10

7:30 – 2:30

This is our only village school, about 20 minutes by bus from Vila. Expect to see dogs, cats, chickens and pigs walking past your classroom window

Seaside Community School 1-10

7:30 – 2:30

Close to our accommodation, this is a non-government school serving a poor but vibrant community.

The Experience

The Experience

"The most enriching experience in my life so far" Bronte, 2014

You will start on Monday and participate in two days of observation prior to enjoying 13 days teaching. At the end of your three weeks there will be a final celebration event where you can formally thank your School, Principal, and Supervising Teacher (and you will be thanked by the school community). You will also participate in activities after school and on the weekends. You will be running three after-school sports and arts program for local children. You also have the opportunity to participate in the Wan Smolbag Yut Senta activities for students disengaged from the school system. We will have bi-weekly briefing and debriefing sessions; talks from local experts on government, health, social and cultural issues; and excursions to a coral reef, waterfalls, swimming and a round-the-island trip. We will also attend a North Pentecost village song, dance and feast.

"I was placed in a Grade 6 class at Ifira School, a school that is quite poor and has only 150 students. Ifira is a tiny island just near Port Vila – we had a 10-minute boat ride every morning to school across the amazing bright blue water!

Although I was nervous in the lead up to the program, Vanuatu quickly became one of the most rewarding and memorable times of my life so far. I loved the fact that all the Deakin teaching students bonded so quickly over our shared experiences, that there was guidance for our professional learning provided by the GEP's academic staff and the amazing activities organized for our spare time outside of school.

My favourite moment at Ifira School was when we were invited to one of our students' houses for an island lunch with her whole family where she gave us traditional Vanuatu dresses! I would say to anyone considering the program that they should jump at the chance – it is an amazing opportunity to experience life and school in a country so close by to Australia, yet with so many cultural differences. It will be something you always remember and you will cherish the memories of your students and trip forever!"

Joy, 2014

Additional program requirements

  • Attendance at both the Information & Planning and the Pre-departure Planning session run by the academic co-ordordinators, John and Peta.
  • Complete all materials in the Deakin Abroad Portal once application is accepted including.
  • Ensure your passport is current with 6 months remaining after return date. Please note if you do not have a current passport you need to apply asap as it can take up to a month for a new passport to be processed.
Page custodian: Faculty of Arts & Education
Last updated: