ASCC Students Visit Samoa Business


By Daniel Helsham, ASCC-ACNR

Published on April 30, 2019-Issue 2

ASCC Business Department chairperson Dr. Faofua Faatoafe (center) celebrates with four of her students (and one of their daughters) upon their return from a field trip to the Independent State of Samoa, where they observed the operating methods of a number of businesses. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

Four ASCC Business student spent a week in the Independent State of Samoa, where they visited a wide variety of factories, retail outlets and home-run enterprises to observe firsthand how commercial entities function on both a small and a large scale. Accompanied by their instructor and chairperson of the ASCC Business Department Dr. Faofua Faatoafe, students Ripena Aitaoto, Mayanne Faatau, Cecelia Taufaasau and Justine Gago financed the entire trip themselves, which in itself represented an exercise in planning, fundraising and budgeting.

The four students, all taking the class Marketing & Management Practicum (MKT 212), held bake sales on campus since the beginning of the semester, and by April had accumulated sufficient capital to cover their travel to Samoa, lodging and transportation. MKT 212 incorporates either an off-island field trip or an e-marketing research project for students to obtain in-depth understanding of how various products are produced, packaged, stored, and distributed locally and globally. The Business Department has aligned the MKT 212 class, including the overseas travel component, with the standards for degrees in Marketing as set by the National Business Education Association (NBEA).

For several years in a row, ASCC students taking the class have visited Samoa, and on one occasion even managed to visit a number of businesses in New Zealand. This year the ASCC students spent time at Samoa business including SamGo Chips at Fugalei, Le Vai at Ululoloa, Letafaoata Chips at Fugalei, Mai le Lani Soap at Papauta, and Uncle Johnny’s at Vaitele. During a side-trip to Savai’i, the students visited the main market at Salelologa, as well as home-based business Swimming with the Turtles, where a family maintains a large pool of turtles in which visitors can swim if they wish.

As they have always done at the conclusion of an overseas field trip, the Business Department hosted an after-hours get together for the families of the traveling students the week following their return. Trip chaperone Dr. Faatoafe took the opportunity to explain in detail to the students’ parents the departmental philosophy behind the trip and her methods of organization. The four students who had traveled also took the opportunity to speak, sharing their experiences and their impressions of the business climate in Samoa. One student expressed gratitude that American Samoa’s minimum wage, as low as it may seem, still far exceeds the wages paid in general in Samoa. Another commented on the difference between government regulations in the two Samoas in regards to worksite conditions. All the students agreed that the insights they had gained were worth the effort it took to make the trip.

At the conclusion of the presentation on the Samoa trip, Dr. Faatoafe presented the families of the student travelers with a portion of the leftover proceeds from the project, and also presented a generous sample of products from Samoa to them as well as to the ASCC administrators who had joined them for the evening, including President Dr. Rosevonne Pato, Vice Presidents Letupu Moananu and Dr. Lina Galea’i-Scanlan, Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Siamaua Ropeti, Director of Teacher Education Shirley De La Rosa, and Director of Institutional Effectiveness Sonny Leomiti.

The mission of the Business Department is to develop and offer high quality business educational programs and services that will enable students to enter the workforce, continue their education, start a business, and become productive citizens in today‘s global and high-tech workforce. Moreover, the programs enable students to build strong partnerships with both the public and private sectors in job placement and educational improvement opportunities. For more information on Business courses offered at ASCC, see the College’s Catalog available online at www.amsamoa.edu.