Home in the Islands : Housing and Social Change in the Pacific

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Traditionally considered the cradle of Polynesia, Samoa was the launching point for the wider human settlement of Polynesia, the last region to be settled in the Pacific. In , Samoa became the first Pacific Island to achieve independence as a sovereign nation-state. Eat Pacific Island food, participate in activities, and see family dynamics firsthand. You will meet young Samoans who are studying at the university. These interactions will introduce you to the issues important to young, educated Samoans.

Our Catalog

See the effects of climate change and tourism on Pacific communities and landscapes on a variety of excursions. The program will take you to diverse landscapes, including lava flows, waterfalls, sea arches, and sand dunes. Access virtual library guide. The courses focus on the interplay of social change, climate change, and development and examine the impacts of westernization and globalization on small island states.

The Research Methods and Ethics course introduces culturally appropriate, ethical field research methodology, in preparation for the Independent Study Project. Language study opens a window into Samoan culture, aids in field projects, and gives students the opportunity to engage more fully with their homestay families. The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer. Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary. Witness the impact of social and climate change on local communities during a nine-day excursion to Fiji. Visit the Silana village Tailevu and learn how this indigenous community derives its identity from the environment and the belief that the dolphins are their ancestors.

Get an up-close look at the work of NGOs focused on gender justice, disaster risk reduction, and ecological sustainability.

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Her thesis focused on Tuvaluan communities in Samoa and Fiji and their ethnic identity and belongingness in diaspora within Oceania. Fetaomi worked as an academic director for SIT in Fiji from to She has experience working in the CSO sector in Fiji and helped found two local NGOs that specialize in conflict transformation and peacebuilding in the Pacific.

She also has experience working with the Pacific Conference of Churches as a lecturer at the Pacific Theological College. She has a BA in psychology from Columbia College in Missouri and has worked as a rehabilitation services counselor for troubled and at-risk youths in Utah. As a certified law enforcement officer, she conducted public awareness programs in cognitive restructuring, anger management, and cultural competency for law enforcement agencies.

She has been working with SIT since Ronna returned to Samoa in after serving as head teacher of an international community school. She has led and managed diverse teams of teachers and taught a range of age groups from preschool to university and adults. She has been with the program since He founded the Samoan language program there in He is a charter member of the International Samoan Language Commission formed in His main interests are environmental archaeology, tangible cultural heritage management, and human ecology on Pacific atolls.

She has a bachelor of arts from the University of Queensland and a postgraduate diploma in arts, master of arts, and doctorate from the University of Otago, Dunedin. She has a bachelor of science and diploma in education from Flinders University, South Australia. She also has a postgraduate diploma in science, a master of science, and a doctorate from the University of Otago, Dunedin. He is a political economist who has written extensively on development and governance issues in the Pacific Islands, with a focus on Solomon Islands. He has researched and written on governance, natural resource development, rural development, conflicts, conflict resolution, and post-conflict development.

Prior to joining the East-West Center, he was a lecturer in history and political science at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. Born in the Solomon Islands, he is a leading expert on the Solomon Islands. He has a PhD in political science and international relations from the Australian National University.

He advocates with Pacific Island governments to protect and promote human rights. Penelope has a PhD in anthropology from Australian National University, specializing in cultural transformation in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Samoa.

Home in the Islands: Housing and Social Change in the Pacific. - Semantic Scholar

She has collaborated with her husband, Lesasiolagi Dr. She has consulted on gender and social impact assessment for international development agencies.

follow link Warren, from Sydney, Australia, has lived in Samoa since He holds a diploma in gemology from the Gemological Association of Australia and a BS from University of Sydney in geology and agricultural chemistry; he studied geology in an honors year. Warren conducts educational tours for the Samoan Tourist Authority, emphasizing natural history, culture, and ancient archaeological sites. My time in Samoa with SIT changed my life forever. The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience.


Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.

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These experiences offer you a closer look into Pacific culture, customs, identities, and issues. Families are typically large and extended, often including four generations, but some are small single mother families. Most families live subsistence lives, and many depend on remittances from relatives overseas.


You will experience a traditional way of life with little privacy and few material comforts and learn about Samoan foods, cooking, weaving, traditional agriculture, and entertainment. You will peel taro and breadfruit; get smoke in your eyes from heating stones; make palusami , a Samoan delicacy; and roast and pound Samoan cocoa. You can even observe the slaughter, baking, and serving of small pig if you wish to see the way Samoans do it. You will witness labor-intensive food preparation and observe how Samoan families use resources in their environment.

A typical Samoan meal may be prepared entirely with foods from local plantations, gardens, or the sea. During the semester, when not on excursion or the village stay, you will live in the home of a Samoan family in the urban Apia area. This homestay experience will enable you to be absorbed into a wide network of a Samoan community and immersed in a Samoan family context daily.

This homestay is contrasted with the rural village homestay and enables you to see and experience the similarities and differences within Pacific communities. You will study at the National University of Samoa Le Papaigalagala campus in urban Apia and interact with local Samoan students on a daily basis. In Apia, there are various locations where you can enjoy a cosmopolitan experience in a Pacific Island setting, though Samoan culture and traditional living still informs the family life of urban Samoan family groups and the lives of Samoans in general. In the final month of the program, you will complete an Independent Study Project ISP in which you will pursue original research on an issue or topic of particular interest to you.

The ISP is conducted in an approved location in Samoa appropriate to the project. You will work with advisors who have expertise in your chosen area of study. All kinds of students with all kinds of majors have studied abroad in Samoa. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect to their experience abroad with SIT. This information is provided to assist you in identifying possible accessibility barriers and preparing for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Abroad.

You should be aware that while in-country conditions and resources vary by site, every effort is made to work collaboratively with qualified individuals to facilitate disability-related accommodation. During the coursework phase of the program, you will generally be in class five days per week for three to five hours per day. You will have short breaks between classes approximately every hour. Course readings and in-class materials are typically available in a digital format.

If you have questions about alternate format materials, testing accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible. The program office and its classrooms are on the ground level and is fully air conditioned. The restroom is located on the ground level. The program includes multi-day excursions involving hiking across a lava flow, visiting a volcanic crater, and touring the coast in Samoa.

You should expect to stand, walk, and hike for long periods of time. A pair of comfortable, rubber-soled, waterproof shoes is recommended. Program excursions may occasionally vary to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities. You will live in the home of a Samoan family in the Apia area for nine weeks of the semester.

These placements are made based, first, on health concerns, including any allergies or dietary needs, to the extent possible. Homestays offer regular access to a refrigerator for storing medication. The physical accessibility of homestay options is currently limited. If you have questions about homestay accessibility, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Main food staples include taro, breadfruit, and green bananas. Imported rice has also become a mainstay of the diet. Fish — both canned and fresh — and local vegetables are available. Papaya and ripe bananas are available year round while other fruits, including oranges, pineapples, mangoes, and guava, are seasonal. There are few grains, beans, or sprouts, but many leafy greens. Typical meats served are chicken and pork. Maintaining a vegetarian or vegan diet may be possible.

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SIT Study Abroad works with students, program staff, homestay families, home colleges and universities, and others to accommodate dietary needs whenever possible. For more information on dietary needs and dietary preferences, please review the Student Support section of the Student Health, Safety, and Support web page. In Apia, you will travel by ferry between the islands of Samoa. At other times, you will travel in vans, trucks, or private vehicles.