Homesickness, culture shock, new environment, language barrier, were all challengers Tuileva Tuileva had to overcome in order for him to get to where he is today.
He has just returned with a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of West Indies in Trinidad.
And today, he is back to being a lecturer at the National University of Samoa.
The 27-year-old was welcomed back with other fellow staff members last week by the Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa after completing their Masters Degree.
And before he starts back to work, Tuileva said he dedicates his Masters Degree to his late Grandmother, Fa’amao Tuileva.
Tuileva Tuileva is married from the village of Saipipi, Savaii and Apolima. He is married to Titilua Tuileva and they have two children.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, he admitted that his journey to where he is now was not a smooth ride.
“It was hard,” he said.
“It was a different environment and there was a huge cultural difference. Language barrier was another issue and I was also homesick.
“The academic workload and extra-curricular activities took their toll, and at times you can't help wishing you were back home gobbling homemade food and being surrounded with the people you love. Especially if your home is far away, with oceans between you and your loved ones, it's even harder.”
Having to leave his wife and two daughters behind made it harder for him.
“I had to make the sacrifice because opportunities like this come once in a lifetime,” he said.
“It was a free opportunity and I wanted to do my best to make the most of it and use it wisely.”
On the other hand, Tuileva said that studying in Trinidad was also an adventure for him.
“Living abroad is hard, but it can be fun as well for it broadens your perspective on life.
“You make new friends, get to experience new things and plus you’ll always have lots of stories to tell to the folks back home.”
“I was also able to explore another culture. They say that travel broadens the mind and finding out about other cultures can be fascinating. It can also give you insights and perspective on your home culture.”
However, Tuileva admitted that it was the support of his family and friends that helped him reach his goals.
“If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have made it this far in life and achieved this. Yes I had dreams when I was a little boy, but I never thought I would make it this far.”
Nevertheless, he had to adjust and adapt really quick with the new lifestyle and environment he stayed in for the past two years.
“I learnt how to respect the culture and people and adapt to the new environment. I joined several support groups and got to know people more and explore the place.
“That was how I got through all the challenges of being away from home.”
Moreover, prior to this Master’s Scholarship, Tuileva graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of the South Pacific.
He admitted that the skills and experience he had from the time he was in Fiji really helped him through his time in Trinidad.
“I am so grateful to God for His never-ending love and support,” he said.
“I couldn’t have done it without God, my family and friends. And I want to personally thank everyone for all the support and prayers. And like I mentioned before, I dedicate this to my grandmother who passed away, Fa’amao Tuileva.”