International Nutrition Internships in Samoa
- PLACEMENT LOCATION: Upolu
- ROLE: To work alongside professionals from the Samoa National Health Service and educate the local community on nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle
- TYPES OF PLACEMENTS: Community-based within the hospital and clinics
- ACCOMMODATION: Host family
- LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 2 weeks
- START DATES: Flexible
The Pacific Island nation of Samoa is facing a nutrition crisis: nearly 80% of the population (those over the age of 15) is obese. Mining operations in the country have left very little arable land and, as a result, there is a severe lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Consequently, the typical Samoan diet consists mainly of imported and processed food. In addition, poor nutrition is only aggravated by the fact that many Samoans associate a large body size with wealth and power.
We recognize that the relationship between good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is too important to disregard. Working alongside the Samoa National Health Service (NHS), and the local schools and communities, we need the assistance of interns to help Samoans make more informed choices about health and lifestyle and improve their quality of life.
As an intern, you will work at outreach programs run by the NHS. These outreaches are carried out across three hospitals and three health clinics in Upolu, the most populated of the Samoan Islands. You will also work in local schools, churches, and youth groups, and work toward raising awareness about the importance of healthy living.
Interns must be at least 18 years old to participate in this project.
Interning on a Nutrition Project in Samoa
During the first two days of your placement, Projects Abroad will run a series of training workshops with you to explain Samoa’s current health status, give a background to common non-communicable diseases you will come across, and equip you with the tools to begin the outreach and education sessions.
All interns work closely with the Projects Abroad Nutrition Coordinator at a NHS centre. Please be aware that we do not shadow or work with an NHS staff member, and your focus will be solely on our Nutrition project work.
Depending on your experience, you will work on some of the following activities:
- Conducting patient questionnaires on health status, diet, exercise, and weight
- Creating plans for a healthy lifestyle, with advice on diet, meal, and exercise plans
- Visiting local schools to provide health check-ups for teachers and guide them with nutrition lessons or workshops. You might also help with the NHS’s school cafeteria program, making sure those who prepare the meals are aware of healthy meal options for students
- Providing advice on how locals can grow their own vegetable garden
- Giving exercise classes to the local community, local schools, churches, and youth groups
- Creating a weekly exercise class
- Giving cooking lessons
- Organizing health walks within the community
- Creating health campaigns.
Did you know? Since 1980, the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes has increased in from about 2% to 20% among Samoa's population.
The working hours for this placement are from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (this includes research and preparation time).
If you have a medical or a public health background, there might be opportunities to work more specifically with antenatal nutrition for pregnant women in Samoa. The work will consist of giving advice on nutrition, the benefits of breast feeding, and healthy eating. Our Projects Abroad Nutrition Coordinator will oversee this aspect of the Nutrition placement as well.
Nutrition internships in Samoa are available for shorter periods than 4 weeks. While you will be able to gain valuable experience on a short-term trip, we recommend staying for a longer period to allow yourself more time to get to know the local healthcare system, see more of a variety of conditions and procedures, and develop stronger relationships with local medical staff.