“I like the service, just so welcoming”

The temperature would have dipped below 15 degrees when 18-year-old Melbourne resident Ellie Kleins flew out of Australia on Wednesday.

And the change in scenery, the jetlag and not to mention the tropical weather, did not stop Ellie from checking out the Cultural Center in Apia—a must-see for first-time visitors to Samoa—when she got into the country.

Speaking to Dear Tourist, Ellie said she has found the people accommodating since she arrived and has already gone swimming and snorkeling at Palolo Deep. 

“I was snorkeling last night and everyone people there were so helpful, I had learnt a lot. 

When I walk down the street people say hi and that’s very different from Melbourne, whereas everyone is in their own bubble. I really liked the services, just so welcoming,” she said.

But Ellie is not your normal tourist—she travelled to Samoa to take on a volunteering role for a month—as a teacher’s aide at the Saint Peter Chanel Primary School. 

She said she is looking forward to starting at the school today, and to get to know more of Samoa.

But why Samoa of all islands in the Pacific? She said she has been to Fiji and choose Samoa, as she is of the view that they are similar and can be conveniently accessed.

“I am really glad I had chosen Samoa because it has been a positive experience for me. Also it is a lot closer to Australia. To be able to form relationships with the school and families makes it easier to come back here,” she added.

Currently she is staying with a host family in Toomatagi. 

Her biggest concern, prior to her arrival, was accepting Samoan culture and adjusting to the humidity. But she is willing to learn, and the experience thus far has been great.  

“I don’t want to be disrespectful in any way so the culture was a major concern for me, but am willing to learn. 

Also it is definitely hotter and more humid here than anywhere in Australia, but it has been a really good experience so far,” she added.

With Christmas coming Ellie hopes to extend her stay in Samoa—if not, she promised to fly back for holidays.

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