2It can be difficult to make it a difference in the workplace when you’re always caught off guard. This week’s blogpost comes straight to you from American Samoa, where Sneha Chiliveru shares with us what it’s like to have some of your expectations met, some dashed away in the first week of teaching, and some, well, surprises! Volunteering to teach abroad on the island of American Samoa can feel like a bit of a dream before the work settles in, but as it does, you learn to be grateful for what you have, grateful for what brought you to this moment in life, and you assume a very natural focus. The students come first. They always have.

 Enjoy Sneha’s insightful viewpoint and pictures, and send her a letter if you feel like adding to her bundle of surprises!

SO many changes since the last time I’ve updated. I have a feeling blog posts will get more and more sporadic just because things have been so crazy and busy. The past week has gone by so fast, and I have a feeling the next few months will too!

First things first, you can send me mail at the address below: (coughcough hinthint coughcough) I love letters 🙂

Sneha Chiliveru

c/o Liora Barbara World Teach

PO Box 5411

Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799

Referring to my blog title – so I started out thinking, before coming here, that I would be teaching elementary at Leone and living there. My life is a complete 180 from that as I’m now living on the opposite side of the island and teaching 8th grade math. It’s really important to be flexible and have an open mind here as things literally change day to day. I’m very excited about my school and my assignment as 1) I LOVE math 2) I live less than a 10 minute walk from school 3) My apartment is AWESOME.

School started last Thursday on the 27th. I found out what exactly I would be teaching the day before school started. It was so crazy insane. We went to a island-wide school orientation on Monday, went immediately to the school we would be teaching at after, and were in discussions with the principals and VPs on what we would be doing until Wednesday morning. FINALLY, it was decided that I would be doing 1st grade English in the morning, 4 8th grade math classes, and then a homeroom/elective for the last period of the day. However, I’m very grateful that the staff of the school really worked with us to find out what our strengths were and how we could best be utilized in the school. I started teaching my 8th grade classes Thursday – I did introductions and a game on the first day and gave them a pre-assessment on the second day.

An interesting fact about school – only about 50% – 75% students show up for the first week. I was talking to a few of the teachers and they were all like “oh, you can expect full attendance starting maybe Wednesday”. Things are so very different and I’m still trying to wrap my head around a lot of concepts.

This is the entrance to my school. It’s surrounded by mountains and so beautiful!

This is the walk right outside of my neighborhood:

We also moved into our apartment – ours is so spacious! Our landlord has been super nice and fixing up everything for us. There are 4 of us (including me) living here. I have the smallest room, BUT it has a memory foam mattress which is SO comfortable and Air Conditioning! Which will definitely be a lifesaver during summer here. The kitchen is pretty well equipped, and we have hot water in the shower! I have to admit I feel pretty spoiled – I have a lot more amenities than I expected. In a way, as weird as it is to say out loud, I’m a bit disappointed it’s not more of a challenge, but on the flip side, I can focus more on truly making a difference at school.

Pictures of my room:

Our living area:

Our balcony (it’s SO spacious)

Kitchen and Dining Area:

Some (old) pics from a hike to Nu’uuli falls a while ago – our trek here was certainly interesting. It took us about 30 minutes to find the hike and we had to cross 3 streams to get there but once we did, it was such a nice hidden gem!