This is the most original answer to the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" that I've gotten from a Samoan student.
When I've asked students what they want to be when they grow up, most of them don't really have an answer. "A job," is usually their reply. Their bland answers are not due to an English ineficiency. They're just never asked this question. Often one wonders what makes American culture and answers are usually hard to come by since our country is a mosaic of other cultures. However, asking children this question about their future is something very American (if not just very un-Samoan.)
Not only are kids not asked this question, but they often lack the ability to imagine a creative answer because they simply aren't aware of the outside world. When asked if they would ever leave Samoa, a lot of my students say, "No. I want to stay here. In my village." They are also baffled when I tell them I don't know the people on "American Idol."
"But, you live in the same country."
"But it's such a big country!" Then I pull out the world map and try to explain how big the world is. (Poor grammar here, I know.)
One way to give these kids an idea about the rest of the world is the Post Card project. So here's the pitch:
If you read this blog regularly or if you just stumbled upon it, send us a postcard from where you live!!! Write a short message about whatever you want, speak to the students directly or talk about where you live, but make sure the picture on the front shows something about your neck of the woods, as we like to colloquially say here in Minnesota. Write the message in English, but a greeting in the language of your country would be wonderful. (Most likely, I'll use the postcards with my Year 7 class- roughly ages eleven to thirteen.) Address postcards to me:
Samantha Maranell, PCV
Private Mail Bag
Apia, (Western) Samoa
As postcards come in, we'll put pins on a world map of the places we get postcards from. Let's make these kids a little more worldly.