Samoan tops Education Faculty at P.N.G. University
A Samoan student has topped his class at the Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) with the highest G.P.A. score in the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Theology.
Christian Aidan Afamasaga has finished his four year Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and History, which he graduated with Merit.
The newly capped English teacher will be returning to Samoa to take up a post at his alma mater, Lalovaea College Seventh Day Adventist College, in the New Year.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Mr. Afamasaga said his drive to become an English teacher is born out his duty to serve his community.
His former Principal and teacher, the late Eteuati Koria, approached him about a partial scholarship to P.A.U., and to consider filling his shoes when he retires from English teaching at Lalovaea.
“He said it would please him for me to study where he did and in the near future replace him as he had plans to move on from the school,” Mr. Afamasaga shared. “I took it as a challenge and accepted the opportunity with no expectations whatsoever.
“Ever since he started being my teacher I had always looked up to him.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Koria passed away during Mr. Afamasaga’s second year of University in 2018, before seeing his student take up the mantle of his classroom. In his four years living on campus at P.A.U. Mr. Afamsaga said has fallen in love with Papua New Guinea and considers himself a local.
“I am not exaggerating but P.N.G. is one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific. It’s just that this beauty is overshadowed by news of corruption, violence, and criminal activities,” he said. “Having being here for four years, I have seen the true beauty of P.N.G., its diversity. Everyone accepts you for who you are and lets you climb your ladder at your own pace. People uplift and support each other, it’s so amazing.
“I’m thankful God made P.N.G. so colorful because it teaches one to be understanding, accepting, and keep an open mind about things.”
He has found family in his new friends, from Samoan families now living near him and local families who adopted his as their own.
They were his supporters and cheerleaders all the way through, he said, and accompanied him to graduation earlier this month.
Before he finished high school, Mr. Afamasga hadn’t considered teaching. Actually, he says he wanted to be a lawyer.
But since his mentor asked him to train as a teacher he has not looked back. The young graduate says he considers his career the beginning of his life of service to the community, and encouraged other students to consider the same when choosing their next steps.
“Take a path that you’re truly passionate about and revolves around giving back to the community,” Mr. Afamasaga urged.
“A life of service is one that is truly fulfilling. Above all, trust that all good things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”
Mr. Afamasaga said he is excited to get back to the comforts of his family home, and a proper Samoan feast. Since he left in 2017 he has returned to Samoa just once, and he spent most of that month teaching as part of his assessments.
But he has to wait for the borders to reopen, or for a flight path to open between P.N.G. and Samoa., with no commercially available flights out of the island nation for now.
The new teacher said that after a few years in education he may one day pursue his Plan A: becoming a lawyer.
“I always told myself that someone out there is looking out there for me, and things work out for good according to God’s purpose,” he said.
“Even though the things I preferred to do didn’t work out for me I know where I am at now is where God wanted me to be.”