One of the requirements for my basic writing class was to learn about another culture. Many Pathway students do not speak English and are assigned to visit for 30 minutes every week with an English-speaking student. I did not receive a speaking partner and was given an alternate assignment. I made two separate reports for my assignment and am including them on my blog.
I chose to learn about Samoa, and the first bit of knowledge I gained is that Samoa is actually two nations. American Samoa is a territory of the United States, and Western Samoa is an independent nation. Both of them are quite poor and lose much of their population to emigration. Most Samoans are of full Polynesian descent. I chose to concentrate my learning on Western Samoa.
Western Samoa is located about 1,700 miles northeast of New Zealand and west of American Samoa. It is one of the smallest nations in the world and consists of two main islands (Savai’i Island and Upolu Island) and several smaller islands. The islands were formed by erupting volcanoes with one volcano still active. The capital city is Apia located on Upolu. The government is democratic. Most Samoans are Christian, and the stores close on Sundays.
The main holidays in Samoa are Independence Day (March 5, 1962), Easter, and Christmas. Independence Day is usually a week-long celebration. School closes for several days for Easter and two weeks for Christmas in order for families to be together. These and other important events such as 80th birthdays are celebrated with feasts, dancing and entertainment.
Samoans shop at regular stores and shops for their food, clothing, and other necessities. Employment in the cities can be found in stores, shops, government offices, and schools with other work found in tourism, fishing, or farming the family’s plantation.
Most Samoans speak and write their native language, and about half of them speak and write English. It is important for Samoans to know English because textbooks, all government work, the tourist industry, and stores use the English language. The people with the better jobs all read, speak, and write English.
I enjoy learning about different cultures. I appreciate studying about Samoa because I have numerous friends who are from Samoa and the knowledge aids in understanding them better. I find the history and culture of Samoa to be fascinating, and I want to learn more about other cultures.