Travelling and visiting new places means living and experiencing the local culture.
So says 25-year-old Katharina Schumann, who left her homeland, Germany, after completing her studies in culture and anthropology.
She has been travelling for more than two and a half years and stays with local families.
After visiting and living in a village in Papua New Guinea, she decided to visit Samoa where she now stays at a homestay in Nofoali’i experiencing the local culture firsthand.
“At the beginning I was travelling mainly to touristy destinations, but then I realised I wanted to experience the culture, meet the people, so now I always try to stay with families and locals to learn from them because you can learn so much,” she told the Dear Tourist team.
“Living here with a host family there are many similarities to Papua New Guinea. I am really impressed by all the gardens and to see how they grow everything, they are so aware of what they eat here compared to our country where we don’t know where the food comes from, and I love it.
“I met so many welcoming people in Samoa and Papua New Guinea. The difference is in P.N.G. it isn’t really safe to walk around the streets in the city by yourself, but as soon as you are in a family or village they are so warm and welcoming. Here in Samoa it is actually safer walking around by yourself and the people are so welcoming. They are so nice and generous it is so amazing.
For Katharina, the most beautiful part about Samoa is how families live together and look after each other.
“Family is really important and they open the house for everyone. I am impressed at how they just let you be part of the family,” she said.
Finding an authentic experience, in her opinion, is not easy especially when most destinations become too westernised.
“When you stay with the family then you realise what they are actually still doing and what is the important tradition for them,” she said.
Katharina said Samoa has offered her everything she wanted.
“It is probably because when I go somewhere I want it like it is, I don’t want to have it like back home, I want authentic.”
“It is probably here in Samoa everybody can find what they are looking for.”
After a week in Samoa, she will travel to Fiji and later Indonesia.