Samoa Service Learning - 2023
“Samoa was an experience of a lifetime. The diverse culture, beautiful scenery and amazing places made the trip so special. It was a great experience for me and the other students that went from Cathedral. We met many new people in Samoa and made so many memories that we all will cherish for a very long time.” - Harry Mullane
This year the College had two Service-Learning trips to Samoa. These trips allowed our students to experience the life and culture of this wonderful developing country, whilst at the same time enjoying the majesty of this Pacific Island paradise. Students were able to immerse themselves in the daily routine of All Saint Anglican School and participate in a range of community-based projects and activities.
Trip One (July): Diaz Matthews, Charlotte Brundell, Mikayla Bellinger and Misha Thompson (Year Eleven)
Trip Two (September): Felicity Camplin, Makenzie Clarke, Finn Devereux, Harvey Dodgshun, Jorja Duffy, Tadhg (Tige) Foran, Mia Ham, Amber Howell, Taya McPhan, Harry Mullane, Alex Philpott, Eric Pickard, Audrey Rodda, Jess Scott, Eva Siperki, Ruby Sullivan, Charlie Timms, Natalie Vincent, Maggie Walker and Hannah Witts.
Diaz Matthews and Charlotte Brundell
During the Term Two July holidays, four of us had the incredible opportunity to visit the beautiful country of Samoa. Our trip was predominantly split between immersing ourselves in cultural experiences, like visiting Lalumano, swimming on the beautiful coastlines, spending time at the markets and inside the capital city Apia, and working closely with students and teachers at All Saints Anglican School. The school was absolutely my highlight. Floating between the Senior School and the Kindergarten over the week I spent there, I created so many connections and relationships with students and teachers. This boosted my knowledge of their culture as well as adapting to the environment to learn bits and pieces of the Samoan language.
Mornings were an early rise, sometimes to hike to author Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave or to do the school's Zumba classes. Bright and early, we would walk the short distance from the church we called home to the school to start the day with a bit of movement, this involved an incredibly large speaker blasting popular songs and making a sort of dance on the spot. It is safe to say we Aussie kids were not as naturally coordinated at Zumba! Lunch was always basic but served us well. While we ate, some chose between going outside to strengthen their new friendships and bonds, while others sat down for some quiet recovery time in the only air-conditioned facility. Samoa thrives off their rich sense of community, and after the trip, we were inspired to bring that home to our lives as well. They're bound by this sense of belonging within every village and community, their love for one another and their passion for their song and dance, forever changing our perspective on what it means to be happy and live a simple life.
Even when homesickness left us in despair, wishing for at least the slightest bit of contact home, we eventually enjoyed the independence of the ‘no phones’ rule and having little familiarity with where we were. Everything there was a learning experience, and we learnt so much; about ourselves, about each other, about people, about culture and about a world outside of our hometowns and phones. The life-long friendships we have made with not only each other, but also with the Western Australian students of Anglican School Commission sister schools, and the students of Samoa, will stick with us forever. I know, for one, I am still in contact with many of the older children within All Saints, and I hope to maintain these connections in the long run. This opportunity was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we are forever grateful to have been blessed enough to experience it.
At the start of the September holidays, six Year Nine and fourteen Year Ten students from Cathedral College, along with Mr Nixon and Ms Woods, left from Albury and flew to Sydney, and the next day across to Faleolo Airport near Apia, on the island Upolu in Samoa. We were met by Tanu and some very humid weather outside the airport, before we loaded the utes and van, and drove to Livingstone, in Apia, our accommodation for the next two weeks. Driving to Apia in the dark, we quickly realised where we were and despite being tired, we still saw that it was going to be very different from home, with a lot of people walking right next to the road in the dark, stray dogs almost everywhere and seeing their traditional houses, where many members of their families were sitting on the floor. We soon arrived at Livingstone and settled in, ready for a couple of weeks ahead of us.
Some of the highlights and things we did during our two weeks in Samoa were:
• Swimming at To Sua Ocean Trench, Piula Cave Pool and Togitogiga Waterfall
• Lalomanu Beach, where we slept in beach Fales
• The Cultural village • Shopping at the local markets
• Evening sing-alongs with Tasi
• Church services at All Saints Church
• Snorkelling at Palolo Deep
• Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and grave hike
• All Saints Anglican School
• Farewell Assembly at All Saints, and later a farewell dinner at a local cafe
• Our 20-hour day coming home!
Personally, the highlight of this amazing trip was going to All Saints School for the whole second week, where I was lucky enough to go into both the Preschool and Year Four classrooms. Hearing all of their beautiful singing from such a young age was really interesting. I really enjoyed helping the kids with their learning and having genuine whole-table conversations with all of the young kids about Australia and Samoa was very special. We all made special friendships with these children. I loved this amazing trip; we made so many memories that no one will ever forget, and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to travel and have an amazing experience in a developing country and school classroom.