Hey everyone! My name is Sam and I studied abroad in Samoa during the Fall 2022 semester. I studied with an external program called SIT, or the School for International Training, in the program Samoa: Social and Environmental Change in Oceania. SIT’s model is around experiential learning, and fully immersing yourself in a new culture, which I definitely did. This is my vlog series about my time in the Pacific and the many ups and downs I experienced while studying abroad. As a student with mental health issues, I was scared to study abroad, but I didn’t let that stop me. Sometimes things were challenging, but also so rewarding. The hardest parts made me a stronger person and I am so thankful every single day that I decided to study abroad. Follow along with me as I experience a semester unlike any other. It was the most exciting and at times difficult, but ultimately the best semester of my life.
Episode 1: Preparing to study abroad with mental health issues
In this episode, Samantha prepares to study abroad in Samoa and discusses how it will affect her as a person with mental illnesses.
Episode 2: Hawaii: Stepping Stones to Samoa
Sam begins the program in Hawaii and goes through orientation. She discovers that Hawaii is a nice transition into life in the Pacific.
Episode 3: Culture Shock
Sam arrives in Samoa and experiences culture shock. She navigates new surroundings and adjusts after a bad case of food poisoning.
Episode 4: Living in the Moment
The SIT students visit a conservation center and plant trees. They also do new things they never tried before like hiking to waterfalls.
Episode 5: Exploring Fiji
Sam travels to Fiji where she is introduced to the wonderful and friendly Fijian culture.
Episode 6: Going Outside my Comfort Zone
Sam and the other students travel to the village of Amaile where they have homestays. Sam details her experiences of having a host family.
Episode 7: Connecting With Nature
Sam discovers the power of connecting with nature and its healing energy.
Episode 8: Savaii: Samoan Legends
The SIT students had their last excursion in Samoa’s biggest island of Savaii. They learned about Samoa’s history and legends.
Episode 9: Holidays Away From Home
Sam discusses the struggles of being away from home during the holidays and how she and the other SIT students made the most of it.
Episode 10: Doing Research
Sam gives a brief introduction into the process of doing a research project in an international country.
Episode 11: Queer Conversations
Lena Kennel discusses her research and experiences as a lesbian in Samoa.
Episode 12: Last Days in Samoa
The SIT students make the most of their final days in Samoa.
Episode 13: Returning Home
Sam reflects on her semester abroad and how she feels to be back at home in the U.S.