Guam: Where America’s Day Begins After working as a school-based SLP in Pennsylvania for eight years, I wanted to combine my professional goals with a passion for travel. I originally focused my job search on the continental United States, but the arrival of the August 1988 Asha magazine changed everything. The issue contained an advertisement ... Features
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Features  |   November 01, 2008
Guam: Where America’s Day Begins
Author Notes
  • Marybeth Torres, MS, CCC-SLP, has been an SLP with the Guam public schools for 20 years. Contact her at torresmv@ite.net.
    Marybeth Torres, MS, CCC-SLP, has been an SLP with the Guam public schools for 20 years. Contact her at torresmv@ite.net.×
Article Information
International & Global / Features
Features   |   November 01, 2008
Guam: Where America’s Day Begins
The ASHA Leader, November 2008, Vol. 13, 20. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR4.13162008.20
The ASHA Leader, November 2008, Vol. 13, 20. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR4.13162008.20
After working as a school-based SLP in Pennsylvania for eight years, I wanted to combine my professional goals with a passion for travel. I originally focused my job search on the continental United States, but the arrival of the August 1988 Asha magazine changed everything. The issue contained an advertisement for the Guam public school system. I’d heard about Guam from my father, who served there as a U.S. Marine in World War II. Could this be the opportunity I was looking for? I moved to Guam in January 1989 with two suitcases and many hopes and dreams.
Nearly 20 years later, these hopes and dreams have been fulfilled. I’ve worked in the local school system with colleagues from around the world as well as with students from diverse and interesting cultural backgrounds. The opportunity to live in Guam has enhanced my professional and personal lives in myriad ways.
Working in Guam
The public school system employs an audiologist and the majority of SLPs on the island. Guam Memorial Hospital, the only local hospital, employs one SLP. Private-practice services are limited because of the limited number of professionals, and a single audiologist serves the entire island community of approximately 130,000 people.
Living as an SLP on a small southwest Pacific island poses challenges. The distance from the U.S. mainland makes it difficult to recruit and retain SLPs, creating constant staffing shortages. When clinicians come to the islands, the prohibitive cost of airfare often prevents visits home to the U.S. mainland. There is also a need for more opportunities for professional education and interaction with colleagues in the discipline. Other challenges include delays in the delivery of materials and equipment and the maintenance of those items in a very humid climate where air conditioning is not always available.
Despite the challenges, living and working on one of the most beautiful island communities in the world with warm temperatures, balmy breezes, breathtaking sunsets, and priceless views far outweigh any hurdles. The people of Guam and the surrounding region are some of the warmest, most generous, and most beautifully spirited people in the world. I would encourage those in our discipline looking for a new and rewarding experience to explore the beauty of working in this island paradise.
Clinical Fellowship and Employment Opportunities

Clinical Fellowship supervision and employment opportunities are available in the Guam public school system and Guam Memorial Hospital. The school system offers two-year contracts with the possibility of one-way paid airfare and shipping of household goods. Extensive, affordable personal travel opportunities are available throughout the region during numerous school holidays. Contact the Guam public school system personnel department through its Web site.

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November 2008
Volume 13, Issue 16