The Road Less Traveled: Samoans and Higher Education
This qualitative study probes into the lives of Samoan college graduates and military members to learn how they ended up making the decision to go into higher education or military service. The subject groups were selected because they are the most popular career paths taken by a Samoan upon completing high school. Twenty-one participants completed narrative interviews wherein they described their career journeys and the many factors that collectively influenced their choice of career. Five themes emerged from the constant comparative analysis of the transcribed interviews: home life, culture, K-12 education experience, role models, and economy. The first theme, home life, was cast as the foundation from where children learn the values they will make their own. The second theme, culture, described how the values instilled in the home life were nurtured. The third theme, K-12 education experience, was the way the Samoan culture was reinforced. Problematic tensions emerged as Samoans attempted to balance the Western views that were taught in the K-12 curriculum and the faa-Samoa or Samoan way that is nurtured in the home life. The fourth theme, role models, emerged as the external force(s) that shaped an individual’s thinking. The fifth theme, economy, unveiled the looming issues such as poverty, unemployment, and government corruption, that plagued the hearts of the men and women of Samoa and fragment this paradise. Overall, the results of this study revealed a lack of vocational options for Samoans that drove many of them to military service, the best option for an immediate economic recovery, but one that did little to improve the overall health and welfare of the Samoan community.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:samoan higher education vocation career qualitative case studies minority colonialism
Date of Publication:01/01/2007