Encompassing a remote island chain in the South Pacific Ocean, Samoa is a small country with increasingly bright prospects. Formerly relying on fishing and subsistence farming as the bulk of its economic output, Samoa has taken strides in recent decades to invest heavily in its own infrastructure and human development. Earning an internship abroad in Samoa today is the chance to immerse yourself in a beautiful island nation, while gaining valuable experience in your professional field of choice.
Samoa is located in the Polynesian region of the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. The nation consists of two major islands, Upolu and Savai’i, and several smaller islands in near proximity. American Samoa, which remains an officially unincorporated territory, is located due southeast of Samoa, and is a part of the larger Samoan Islands chain.
With a population of just under 200,000 citizens, you won’t find very many big cities where to intern abroad in Samoa. The capital of Apia, where the 40,000 resident citizens constitute nearly a quarter of the country’s population, is actually technically the only “city” among the islands. Apia is the primary political and economic center of Samoa, serving as home to most of its largest schools, companies, and administrative institutions.
The rest of Samoa is predominantly rural, with settlements of a few hundred of thousand citizens sprawled out among the two main islands. It’s generally possible to intern abroad in Samoa in the more remote rural areas as well; because the islands are so small, you might even find yourself living in Apia and commuting to a nearby village for your internship.
Internships in Samoa
Because Samoa is a small country that is not heavily industrialized, you typically won’t find many internships abroad in the advanced economic sectors. Some international companies do have branches in Samoa, but for the most part internships are offered in more publicly oriented fields, such as education, medicine, and environmental studies.
Because it offers such immense natural beauty, Samoa also has a growing tourism industry, so it is a popular option to seek out internships in areas such as hospitality or resort employment as well. For individuals who are interested in a future career in the travel industry, beginning with an internship abroad in Samoa can be a great introduction to the field in an up-and-coming destination.
English and Samoan are both spoken between the two islands, and usually you will not be required to speak the latter in order to intern abroad in Samoa. Internships generally last between three and six months, depending on where you are in relation to your studies (some internships abroad in Samoa can offer academic credit as a supplement to your work, which is a great option to look into if you are still pursuing your degree).
Salaries & Costs
While it is not common that you will be paid to intern abroad in Samoa, many employers will instead offer to compensate you by alternative means such as providing for housing, meals, and/or transportation. Because it is largely rural, Samoa remains an affordable destination for many interns travelling from the industrialized world, so on-the-ground costs of living generally need not be of too much concern.
Accommodation & Visas
Generally you will have the option of either living in a homestay or an individual apartment while you intern abroad in Samoa (homestays tend to be more common if you are interning away from Apai, where there are less overall housing options). Samoa does not have a very advanced infrastructure, so you can expect to live comfortably, but with the basics.
Unless your internship abroad in Samoa lasts for less than three months, then you will generally have to apply for a visa in order to live there temporarily. Visitors from most countries can enter Samoa visa-free and apply for the necessary documentation while overseas; for more information as it applies to your individual circumstances, check out our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Community. Because it’s such a small country, it should come as no surprise that Samoans have a very strong sense of community. As a visitor you can expect a tremendous degree of hospitality while you intern abroad in Samoa.
Experience. Embarking on an internship abroad in Samoa is your opportunity to undergo a tremendous growth experience, both personally and professionally. Upon returning you’ll be ready to start on an entirely new path.
Lifestyle. Very much an island nation, Samoans embrace a laid back and holistic culture. The perspective you gain while interning abroad here will be invaluable throughout life after your internship.