American Samoa

 

When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

Posted by WTTech in American Samoa

WorldTeach alumna Jackie reflects on her first year as a teacher, spent in American Samoa.   My first year as a teacher is over. The end of my time in American Samoa is rapidly approaching. We leave Manu’a any day now, sail to Tutuila, and wait for our flight Friday night. I land in Chicago Sunday morning. In less than a week I will be home. I can’t wait to see my family, spend time with my friends, play with my dog, and enjoy the wide selection of fruits and vegetables found in every supermarket. But leaving is hard. This has been one of the best years of my life. I got to live the dream. I spent a year…

Teacher Appreciation, Coconuts & Fist-Pounds in American Samoa

Posted by WorldTeach in American Samoa

Teacher Appreciation Day is like Christmas for WorldTeach Volunteers. Our volunteers are treated like royalty around the globe. Schools host all day festivals, invite teachers for delicious meals, and students give handmade gifts and treats. Although food and gifts are wonderful and welcome, there is nothing more rewarding than a simple ‘thank you’ from one’s students. Saul and Chelsia in American Samoa share their Teacher Appreciation Day experiences. There’s an entire week devoted to students appreciating their teachers here in American Samoa. In the States, I’m pretty sure there’ s a Teacher Appreciation Day (and I only know that because Target has cards for just about every occasion).  Teacher Appreciation Week is serious business where the students feel compelled to let you know how much they appreciate you even if…

Continuing the connection: Life after WorldTeach

Posted by WorldTeach in American Samoa

In life, there are headlines, and there are page 14 stories.  WorldTeach is, without a doubt, a headline.    You mentally and physically prepare yourself for months or years before making the transition abroad. You put all your energy and resources into ensuring your experience is as valuable, challenging, and altering as possible. You live every moment to its fullest, because you know this experience is rare, unique, and may not last forever. Trips to the market are full of cultural lessons and challenges, and you learn more on a bus than you ever did in a classroom. Your students treat you like a celebrity. Your community does the same, but perhaps with more confusion.   Returning home can sometimes…

American Samoa: Siva Samoa!

Posted by WorldTeach in American Samoa

One of the most beautiful aspects of WorldTeach is that our volunteers become part of their community, outside of the classroom. For some individuals, this is through sports teams, language classes, social events, traveling. At the beginning of the year, you think, “how am I going to make friends, how am I going to find my place in this foreign world?” And then all of a sudden, it just happens. It happens because you put yourself out there, it happens because these communities where we serve are so grateful and excited to be a part of our lives. And then, you find yourself dancing with your students, at your Principal’s house, on a Friday night… Friday, March 21st (shortly after…

Updates from a WorldTeach American Samoa Volunteer

Posted by WorldTeach in American Samoa

WorldTeach volunteer Jackie Rakers has been in American Samoa for nearly a year. Read on to hear about her daily life filled with the fun and excitement of neighborhood children, care packages, dances, holidays, and unique moments like viewing the blood moon lunar eclipse… If you give the adorable village children each a marshmallow, they will ask for another. Once you give them another, they will ask if they can come inside for a drink of water. Once you let them inside for a drink, they will ask to clean your house. After they have done the dishes and swept the floor, they will ask to climb trees until it rains and they are called home. But seriously, I may…

Spear Fishing in American Samoa

Posted by Heather Tang in American Samoa

WorldTeach volunteers get the opportunity to try many new activities in their host communities. In American Samoa, WorldTeach volunteer Matt Hoffman has spent some of his free time outside of teaching learning how to spear fish. Read on to hear about one of Matt’s experiences going spear fishing with fellow community members…       My life on Ta’u is split into two parts – school and home. The divide is geographic; we have to walk up half a mountain to go to school, whereas home is just off the beach. At school, I usually wear an aloha shirt and ie faitaga (so, a manskirt). At home I wear, at most, shorts. That’s really not too different from the states….

Why Go To American Samoa?

Posted by Heather Tang in American Samoa

With 22 programs in 16 countries to choose from, it can be challenging for WorldTeach applicants to decide which program to apply to. Alexandra Savinkina chose American Samoa for a variety of reasons and her arrival at her site gave her a serendipitous surprise that solidified her belief that she made the best choice. Read on to learn about why Alexandra chose American Samoa and to hear about what she discovered when she moved to her site…   I have been asked that question probably a million times, and I’m going to be honest: there is no Reason. Oh, there were a million reasons why I chose AmSam: I wanted to go abroad for at least a year (but the…

An American Samoan Thanksgiving

Posted by Heather Tang in American Samoa

Jackie Rakers is a WorldTeach volunteer in American Samoa where she recently spent Thanksgiving. Read on to learn about the experience of celebrating the American tradition of Thanksgiving in American Samoa and to see what Jackie is thankful for this holiday season…   Thanksgiving in American Samoa was just like Thanksgiving in Chicago, except with a tropical flare, more beaches and less snow, and a different family. While I without a doubt missed spending the holiday with my real family, my island-mates are pretty much the best ‘family’ I could ask for. Sasha and I spent a few hours doing craft projects on Wednesday which resulted in hand turkey napkin rings/place cards, an island themed center piece, a ‘Thankful Coconut’,…

“Going Out” in American Samoa

Posted by Heather Tang in American Samoa

Alexandra Savinkina arrived in American Samoa this past summer. She recently participated in a very unique American Samoan tradition that gave new meaning to the idea of “going out” on a Friday night. Read on to learn about her experience…   “Are you going out tonight?” one of the other teachers asked me as we were leaving school on Friday a few weeks ago. A pretty typical question to start off the weekend… except when you’re in Samoa, and it’s one week past the full moon, and “going out” actually means standing out in the middle of the ocean at 2am catching sea worm sperm with a giant net. Of course I was “going out”!     Palolo is a…

Food & Friendship in American Samoa

Posted by Heather Tang in American Samoa

Matt Hoffman arrived in American Samoa this past July. Read on to learn how he is discovering the culture through sharing meals with his community.   Barbeque, in Samoan terminology, refers to anything except the tangy-smokey-nectar one usually finds slathered on ribs and the like. In Samoa, it’s a verb (not all that different from the states) and noun used as a universal term for grilling, or refers to a teriyaki-esque sauce that goes on EVERYTHING.     My first experience with a Samoan barbeque was at a Samoan friend’s house during orientation, where rugby players procured endless Steinlager (New Zealand beer), chicken, and beef strips. I had already eaten dinner, so of course I ate more. Waves and waves…