Jack Bivens is rugby mad and the opportunity to work in a country where he believes the best players in the world come from was too good to pass up.
The English lad is volunteering to work with the Samoa Rugby Union and mostly works with the colleges in Apia.
Along the way he has had a chance to experience Samoan culture in the most authentic way.
“I work at the Samoa Rugby Union. It’s fantastic and I really enjoy it,” says Jack,
“It’s been really good here to stay with a Samoan family and get to know the Samoan culture. I’ve had the opportunity to see all the islands like Savaii and Manono, Manu’a tele.”
Jack tells us about what stood out for him.
“It’s just beautiful and the best thing about here is the people. They are just so friendly and very welcoming. I’ve met people in England and New Zealand who were from Pacific Nations so I knew that the people were genuinely friendly but even with all that I’m still blown away being here and seeing how friendly everyone is. It makes me feel at home here.”
“I walk to the rugby union every morning and the other day it started raining and four cars stopped to ask if I needed a lift and offer to help me carry the bags – it’s just awesome.”
“It’s incredible to see the respect that people have within their families and how much they look after each other. At the place that I’m staying in, there are always brothers, sisters and cousins around.”
Would he recommend Samoa to his friends back home?
“In an instant I would tell my friends back home that the islands are very beautiful with beautiful beaches and a warm sea. They should experience the culture and it’s one of my favourite places in the world I’ve been to.”
It wasn’t long before Jack was back to talking about rugby and something that was apparent and rather refreshing was his passion for supporting women’s rugby in this country. He pointed out that they are flourishing and that besides their athletic capabilities there were some other things that the boys could learn from them.
“My favourite thing to do here is play rugby with the kids, especially the girls. They have skills! We have the girls’ tournament coming up and they are so, so good. It’s just nice because it’s normally always about the boys.
“It’s great to get them out there and playing intercollege. They are going really well with their skills but just with the way that they are, the sportsmanship they have and the respect they have for each other. They could teach the boys a thing or two about a few of those things.”