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SIT: Samoa, Pacific Communities and Social Change
Apia, Samoa
Program Terms: Fall,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: SIT/World Learning 
Program Dates &
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Restrictions: CU applicants only
Fact Sheet:
 Lang. of Instruction:
 Program Type:
Direct Enrollment
 Minimum GPA:
2.5 Housing: Camping, Homestay, Hostel/Hotel
Fields of Instruction: Anthropology, Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, Economics, Education, Gender Studies, Geography, Independent Study, Social Policy, Sociology
 Class Rank:
junior, senior, sophomore
Study Abroad Advisor : Libby Okihiro
Program Description:
The SIT Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change study abroad program examines traditional society and social transition in the context of Oceania. Through interdisciplinary coursework, field study, and independent research, students explore processes of change, discovering how traditionally subsistent Pacific communities have been affected by and are reacting to a multitude of transnational flows. Students consider the impact of new and different values on Pacific Island communities and social structures in light of these flows, including development and globalization pressures.

Topics for consideration examined in the context of the Pacific include:

  • Impacts and incorporation of Christianity
  • The shift from a subsistence to cash economy
  • Introduction of human rights into a communal society
  • Migration patterns and the role of remittances
  • Social changes resulting from globalization, migration, and development in Samoa, American Samoa, and Fiji
  • The current "coup culture" in Fiji

Through SIT's strong in-country partnerships, students enjoy access to local academics and university resources while at the program base in Apia, Samoa as well as during the orientation period in Hawaii, and on excursion in American Samoa and Fiji. Academic resources drawn upon in delivering course content include the University of Hawaii and East West Center, the University of the South Pacific (USP) in both Samoa and Suva Fiji, and the American Samoa Community College (ASCC).

Meaningful cultural immersion is an integral part of this program. Through Samoan language instruction and homestays in several Pacific island communities, students gain unique exposure to diverse perspectives on social change and transition in the Pacific context, learning directly from Pacific Islanders. Experiences include:

  • Working in the lo'i talo, or taro patches, alongside young Hawaiians where students learn about the challenges Hawaiian youth face as indigenous people in the context of a US state.
  • Staying in the eco-tourist village of Abaca in Fiji where students observe the impact of tourism on a small indigenous village.
  • A homestay with an Indo-Fijian family, which provides a firsthand look at the similarities and differences in the values, beliefs, and practices of Fiji's two major ethnic groups.
  • Living with families in rural Samoa where students experience the growing, harvesting, and preparing of food on a daily basis, which deepens their understanding of subsistence living.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Approx. Start Approx. End
Spring 2015 09/15/2014** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Programs may fill long before their final deadline. * Recommendation--For SPRING: APPLY in MAY to study abroad the following spring. For FALL/YEAR: APPLY in DECEMBER. Later applications are always welcome, but colleges may need time to process your approval.