We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Which Apia hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Melbourne, Australia
3 posts
Save Topic
Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Hi Guys,

We are a family of four considering a move to Apia on a two year contract (Husband's work). We have a 5 Year old (currently in Prep in Melbourne) and a 3 year old (in kindergarten) and are curious about a number of things, these thing being -

- schooling (standards & costs)

- standards of living

- things to do in spare time!

I have read some really great things so far but I would love to get educated before making such big decisions.

Thanks in advance,

Sarah

Sydney
Level Contributor
344 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Hi Sarah,

Will your husband's contract house you guys in Apia? Or will they set you up outside of town?

If you stay in Apia proper then I can recommend Manumalo Baptist school. They have a pre-school and kindergarten not too dissimilar to what we are used to here in Aus. There's also a private Anglican school where my friends who work for the ministry of education send their own kids. They are a much smaller school and are currently located within the ministry of education compound in Apia. They only take students from age3 to age9 which makes for a nice little school. Again curriculum and style of learning are not too different from what we are used to here in Australia.

Sorry I can't offer any advice on the standard of living. Personally I really enjoy my frequent trips but I imagine having to live there longterm is totally different, especially with a young family. I will however recommend that you look up the Lani Wendt Young blog and read her comments on life back on-island with her young kids.

Hope this helps, if you aren't in Apia let us know so I can recommend other schools and also if you're preference is for private or public schools.

Happy planning,

L.

Melbourne, Australia
3 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Thanks so much L! Yes housing is part of the contract. Schooling is what I'm thinking about most right now, so your advice is brilliant.

Thanks again :) x

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
Level Contributor
3,782 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Malo lava Sarah

I've lived in Samoa for lengthy periods of time over the last 10+ years so I hope I can give you a bit of an insight.

The standard of living of a developing country is quite different to what we know in Australia but you can make it very comfortable for yourselves given the relatively inexpensive cost of living. The standard varies greatly between expats (palagi) and Samoans because of that cost. If you can let me know where you would be living I can tell you more about the area.

You will get frustrated by things like power blackouts and water outages at the most inconvenient times of day, the lack of infrastructure, muddled traffic and internet slowness etc but it's just a part of living here that doesn't take that long to get used to. What is probably most frustrating is not being able to get products in the supermarket like we do at home eg a variety of cheeses, yoghurt, fresh dairy anything, cold meats, cheap veggies, healthy snacks etc

Once you meet other expat families I'm sure you'll find plenty to do. You'll undoubtedly meet them through your husband's work and childrens' school.

The lifestyle in Samoa is very laid back and it can be hard to get used to as nothing is done in a hurry including business and sometimes you need things fast but it just won't happen - Samoans invented "island time"!!

It can become oppressively humid in the wet season which probably won't affect the kids but can be a real drag on the energy of adults.

The Samoan people are some of the warmest, funniest, friendliest and kindest you will ever come across and they are always willing to lend a helping hand. If you make friends with a Samoan you make friends for life.

There are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to eat and meet people at so Apia itsellf is not lacking in that way but once you leave the capital those services are sadly lacking.

It is a wonderful place for children to spend some time, most Samoan kids have no computer games to amuse them so they play the old-fashioned way - in their yards with their neighbours, being imaginative to keep themselves occupied.

Upolu and the other islands have a lot to keep you busy for a while but I think a lot of what you do in your spare time will depend on what you do in OZ. It's a stunningly beautiful country that I'm sure you'll love exploring.

It's a very different country to live in Sarah but an experience I think you should have. If it's a once in a lifetime experience I think you should grab it, you'll have no regrets as both you, your husband and your children will learn many new lessons in life that you would not otherwise of had.

If you decide to go and want to get down to the nitty gritty of things like which supermarkets to go to etc let me know

Manuia le aso

Deb

Auckland
Level Contributor
147 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

I know of a family (relative of a friend) who lived in Apia for a couple of years while the Dad worked for a construction company. If you send me a private message I can try to put you in touch with them. They had two boys who went to school in Apia.

Cheers

<:0)

Melbourne, Australia
3 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Thankyou so much Deb, that gives me a great insight into Samoan life. I appreciate the honesty - I think it sounds great! X Sarah

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
Level Contributor
3,782 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

You're welcome Sarah

If you come without the romantic notions of "living on a tropical island" and very few expectations and an open mind it can be a wonderful and sometimes very humbling life. It's an amazing experience for adults and kids.

If you have any more questions let me know. I'd also take up dayslong's offer as well.

Manuia le aso

Deb

Level Contributor
1 post
16 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Hi Sarah

Not sure if you have already made your decision, however if not, a few more bits of information you might want to consider in the mix. We have lived here for the last 3 years and are about to leave; we have absolutely loved our time here.

- Most expats choose to send their kids to Vaiala Beach School (primary school) or the Montessori Preschool (for kids 4 years and younger). There is not a lot of publicly available information about Vaiala, but it is one of the few (if only?) schools here where the curriculum is in English in the primary years, and it follows the NZ curriculum. At the moment they have a mix of NZ teachers, Fijian teachers and one Samoan teacher.

- If you like going to the beach, there are some absolutely gorgeous, safe beaches for kids here which is what a lot of families tend to do on the weekend. If you are not a beach person or a churchgoer, then options for amusing yourselves on the weekend are a bit more limited.

- The expat community here is small (hi Deb!) and there is a playgroup for littlies. There is also an expat newsletter which you may want to get yourself onto the mailing list when you arrive. It lists sports and community groups and other upcoming activities.

- As Deb says, the range of food is more limited than back home, however every year that we have been here, there is more and more available as lots of the Samoan diaspora who have been living overseas return. At the moment if you want to buy things like broccoli it will cost you about $6-8 AUD per floret or more at times, however you can get things like tuna and eye fillet dead cheap compared to Aus. Just be prepared to be creative with things like cucumbers, watercress, pineapples, papaya and bananas (best you will ever eat) which are here in plentiful supply.

Good luck with it all and happy also to put you in touch with some of the expat community here if you decide to come.

Cheers

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
Level Contributor
3,782 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Thanks for the great info

Wellington...
3 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Hi Sarah

I am an australian with two children 5 year old and 2.5 year old, moving to Samoa for 12 months to start in January 2015. I saw your post and thought I would just add myself as I am in the same position, have you decided yet if your are going??

We finalised our decision after our last trip there in April, when our children cried when having to leave.

I am Melbourne born, moved to new zealand 11 years ago, but am happy for change as sick of cold weather need some heat and sun, after samoa we will head back to aussie.

Would be great to be in contact if you are heading there.

Regards

Michelle

Wellington, New...
Level Contributor
9 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Expat considering moving to Apia Samoa

Hi there

In terms of school, there is Robert Louis Stevenson School as well which is an option. It is a private school and curriculum is based on Samoan, Australian and New Zealand educational standards, I for one would send my kids there if we were to live there :) I'm not sure on cost though. Here is the website if you would like to contact them http://www.rlss.ws

Get answers to your questions about Apia