Priscilla Van Brummelen believes Samoa is the best place to learn about culture and people.
Being in Samoa has definitely brought Priscilla out of her comfort zone. She said she has witnessed happiness in the midst of struggles for survival, which is what she finds interesting about the lives of Samoans.
“Every time I come I am always challenged since I am so used to how Australia is and just live our normal life, but when we come here it is so different and people are so happy with having a lot less,” she said.
“Unlike Australia you have to have everything but you don’t need it.”
The gift of family is one of the main things that the 26-year-old is very amazed about, which is all part of the Samoan culture.
“I love how the Samoans value their families; it is such a big and important thing here and the culture as well. I appreciate that very much.”
Priscilla and students from various schools in Victoria, Australia, travel to Samoa on an annual basis to experience the Samoan way of life.
And it is not only Priscilla that has changed through the trips they take to Samoa at the end of every year; it is the students as well.
“The students have a really great experience and it really challenges them to step outside their comfort zone as well. You see them grow over the 10 days that we usually come here for.”
Priscilla says Samoa is a very friendly and beautiful place which is very easy for her as a leader to take the students to.
“The Samoan people are very welcoming and they also open up their homes. We are just going to keep on coming back because we know it and are very familiar with it,” she added.
She is certain that it is an opportunity for the students to have their first cultural experience which is why they come every year.
“It is for the students to understand what it is like to travel and engage with other people. This is also for them to learn different cultural traditions and how to go about travelling on their own.”
With the two years that she has been in Samoa, she has noticed the growing number of cars.
She also noted the difference in markets in Samoa and her homeland.
“It is part of the Samoan culture where I just see them every time selling fruits on the streets and it is a good time to engage. Totally different from Australia, we have some markets but they are more contained.
“Whereas here you can just walk along the road and there are markets everywhere which is really nice and a really good opportunity for the people to sell what they produce.”
Priscilla says coming to Samoa teaches the students things that are not found in Australia and that is to be challenged and have fun.