Work and Travel in Samoa
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN SAMOA FOR TRAVELLERS
Have you ever wanted to visit an island in the South Pacific?
Then consider work and travel in American Samoa. It’s nothing like the country it’s ruled by. American Samoa has every bit the culture of the other South Pacific islands. If you want to experience something new in a remote part of the world, this is the place to do it.
So what’s in store for you if you decide to travel in American Samoa?
Here’s our travel guide to American Samoa with everything you need to know about the island.
1. Teach English in American Samoa
Lots of people assume that because this part of Samoa is run by the USA that everyone MUST speak English there. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the most common volunteering opportunities in American Samoa is to teach English. Like many islands in the area, there’s a large amount of poverty and most people continue to use only their native tongues.
There are positions right now for native English speakers who want to help the locals learn English for the first time.
Most schools do demand that you possess at least a TEFL qualification.
2. Work in a National Park in American Samoa
The National Park Volunteer Service program is just one of a number of organizations working within American Samoa’s green spaces. Mount Alava is a popular part of the country travellers want to visit, and now you could spend even longer there.
Volunteers learn about both ecological and wildlife conservation. It’s also a chance for anyone who wants to work in American Samoa to get closer to the things that ordinary travellers will never see.
There’s no better way to see the island and get some real world experience in the process that any future employer would value.
3. Teach in Schools in American Samoa
The outer islands of American Samoa tend to be the poorest. But things are slowly changing in the field of education. Schools regularly employ volunteers who want to help teach children everything from science to sports.
So if you have any relevant experience, or you’re just an eager volunteer, you could find a job working in a school there.
You should bear in mind that programmes like these usually demand a significant time investment. Expect to dedicate at least six months to a year if you get accepted to any of these programmes.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR SAMOA
The status of American Samoa is as an unincorporated territory of the United States. That means anyone from the US is able to travel to it without a passport.
For Europeans, British, Canadian, Australian, Japanese, South Korean, and Kiwi citizens you will need to apply for an ESTA in advance. The visa policy for foreigners is the same for American Samoa as the mainland US, which means you’ll be subject to the same level of scrutiny.
You should also be aware that citizens of places like Russia, South Africa, Mexico, and China must apply for a conventional US visa. An interview at the American embassy in your home country may be required for your nationality.
Check the specific requirements for your nationality first.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN SAMOA
The spring season covers part of the dry season from April onwards. It’s an ideal time to be in American Samoa as there’s little to no risk of cyclones.
It also means that this is the perfect time to work in areas of conservation. Whether you work as part of an official programme in the national parks or via an independent organisation, you’ll find plenty of opportunities at this time of year.
You may also want to consider homestays in the rural areas. Working on small farms and homesteads can give you a taste of the local culture without the worries of extreme weather.
The summer season is much the same as the previous section. Up until September the dry season continues. Take note that unlike most countries, there’s no big tourism boom at this time of year.
The summer season is relatively quiet, so conservation, homestays, and teaching English are all volunteering opportunities in American Samoa you could decide to take advantage of at this time of year.
Autumn is an interesting month because it’s when the wet season begins. Like most islands in the South Pacific, cyclones are possible towards the end of the month. It’s wise to avoid the rural areas at this time of year to avoid getting stranded.
October also marks the beginning of the whale season. Work and travel in American Samoa could bring you into the whale watching and conservation industry. It does help if you have prior experience, though.
Tourism does start to increase at this time of year because October is also a festival month, so you may be able to find work in American Samoa in the various resorts and hotels.
Peak tourism season, both domestically and internationally, is during the winter. Whether you’re a snorkelling instructor, someone who wants to work on boats, or just a spare pair of hands in a hotel, winter is the time to be here.
The reason for this is that most Samoans who live abroad (there’s a lot!) will return home until the beginning of the New Year.
However, cyclones are more common throughout this season, so stay updated on the weather situation.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN SAMOA
As this section is covering the whole of Samoa, one has to generalise, but, in general, what is the attitude? Are we all rich idiot tourists and if so why on earth would we want to do some work? Or are we seen as western supremacists and viewed with suspicion? Let us know your thoughts and update them here.
- Edited on Aug 1 2018 by Roman