“Preparation is always half the battle”
It is the twelfth year the ASCC graduating Business Class picked Independent Samoa as the venue to directly observe and gain practical experience of management production, effective packaging and channels of distribution.
This year's business students, nine young ladies, fundraised extensively and planned for their 10 day trip to Apia and Savaii and even hosted a farewell dinner with their parents before leaving.
“We needed to make sure all is well with the parents,” says Dr. Fa’atoafe, ASCC's business department head. Travel itineraries were left with the parents and medical contact numbers were given to ASCC business instructor Mrs. Faofua Fa’atoafe for the trip.
“We were well received there with all the businesses we visited, we were also proud to present our college name, and the people are very friendly too. They love Pago!” said Business student Ruby Afamasaga.
The dress code throughout the trip was professional, business like and only casual in leisure times.
“It was the first time to Samoa for some of us… and to learn how to establish businesses with local materials as the raw product for producing great, natural goods is an encouragement to try out a personal small business here, as well as a learning experience to be able to participate in its production in the short time we spent at each venue we visited,” said Ruta Lealasola of Nu’uuli.
They toured both islands of Upolu and Savaii and took early morning walks in the town area from Hotel Aggie's in Vaisigano to Mulinu’u and the Tiafau Hotel. They also attended Sunday services at Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in Apia with their tithe.
The group visited businesses in Apia and Savaii from the family owned Mailelagi Soap, the Supreme Ice Cream Factory, Samoa Natural Foods which produces banana, ulu and taro chips, Le Vai, to Village Blow Holes managed by the Village Council and Yasaki Samoa Eds, a Japanese factory that makes automobile parts for export.
They also visited Swim with the Turtles Resort, Tafaoata, Uncle Johnny's Ice Cream & Juice, the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa that produced the island's first virgin Avocado oil for beauty products and the eleventh site visit was to the Alafua Campus of the University of the South Pacific where they made new academic friends.
The ASCC Business Class fostered goodwill and endorsed their Samoan culture by gifting cases of wahoo and an envelope containing US$40 to each business they visited and were in turn presented with gifts from the businesses.
The business students allowed themselves, through proper budgeting, to each spend US$164 on gifts for their friends and family and each received US$100 to gift their parents upon their return.
The trip was not without unexpected expenses, though, like the small car accident at Aggie's parking lot which cost them US$600 in fines.
The group returned last Monday.
“We took the trip knowing we have to learn all aspects of being a business management person, yet we did not know, we would be learning other phases of running a business - preparation to start one, crude products used to produce market products and also distribution of such products. Samoa was perfect for our study - we have the same crude products to initiate a small business,” said Vaepa Letufuga.
A welcome home dinner with their parents was hosted by the group last Tuesday evening, upon their return home, where Mrs. Faofua Fa’atoafe reported on the trip highlighted by a video compilation of the photos taken during their trip.
Three birthdays were celebrated during the Samoa visit and a cake was also there for the fortunate ones inclusive of Mr. Fa’atoafe their driver and cook, Ruta and the upcoming birthday of Ms Vaepa Ema Letufuga.
Those who took the trip include Vaepa Letufuga, Ruta Lealasola, Fa’atumu Enele, Ruby Afamasaga, Sinalua Logo, Tafaogalupe Swanney, Tolua Tavai, Dr. Faofua Fa’atoafe and Mr. Fa’atoafe for only 4 days of the trip.
The students and instructor thanked all the parents, families and especially those who help fundraise for their trip of a lifetime!