OUM was founded in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa in 2002. The University has evolved from a local mission to better meet the health needs of underserved island communities to a now internationally-accredited medical school with students and graduates in many countries.
All MD students are required to complete at least one four-week clinical rotation at OUM’s home in the South Pacific. Clinical clerkships are available in the nation of Independent Samoa and the US territory of American Samoa. Located just south of the equator near the International Dateline, both Samoas are home to warm, friendly people with a rich Polynesian culture.
Just west of the Dateline in Independent Samoa, two-thirds of the country’s population lives on the largest island, Upolu, which is also where the capital, Apia, and national hospital are located. Apia is the business commercial center and the main national port with numerous shops and restaurants. The Tupua Tamasese Meaole (TTM) Hospital is in the village of Motootua, a suburb of Apia. Student housing is located within walking distance of the health complex.
The following websites provide helpful information to students and prospective students:
Government of Samoa’s official web site: www.govt.ws
Samoa tourism site: www.visitsamoa.ws
US Department of State: www.state.gov/p/eap/ci/ws
Flights into Samoa arrive from Sydney, Brisbane, Honolulu, Auckland, Fiji, Tonga, and American Samoa. Polynesian Airlines, Pacific Blue, Air Pacific and Air New Zealand are the most popular carriers. Further information may be obtained from travel agencies. OUM students traveling to Samoa are required to notify OUM of their arrival details at least one month prior to arrival.
Independent Samoan immigration legislation requires that all international students hold a valid passport and have a student permit before entering Samoa. There is a SAT$300 fee for processing a student visa. Upon payment of tuition for courses or clinical rotations to be taken in Samoa, students will be sent information on obtaining a visa. Permits are issued initially for a six-month period. Admission to OUM does not guarantee that a student permit will be issued, but there is generally no problem. Detailed information about obtaining a permit to study in Samoa may be found on the Government of Samoa Immigration website www.samoaimmigration.gov.ws.
American Samoa operates its own immigration and customs department, independent of the US government, which permits students from Australia, New Zealand, and other countries to study there. All students traveling to Samoa (including US citizens) will need to bring their passports, even though it is an American territory.
Before traveling to Samoa, students should discuss their vaccination and immunization status with their personal physician. Since medical students are regarded as healthcare workers, applicants must furnish a health certificate that documents his/her current immunization status.
Students also will have to document compliance with CDC standards prior to beginning clinical rotations. Additional information regarding travel immunizations may be found at www.cdc.gov/travel/studyabroad.htm.
The climate is tropical, with an average temperature in Apia of 81.5F (28.5C). Relative humidity is high; the average yearly rainfall is 114 inches (290 cm) and occurs during the wet season from November to April. Umbrellas are advisable, as short, sharp rainstorms are frequent throughout the year.
Dress is light and casual. Local Samoan custom dictates that women wear clothing that extends to or below the knees. Students are expected to wear a name badge while doing patient rounds. Short shorts, short skirts, tank tops or other very casual dress are neither appropriate nor acceptable anywhere on the campus. Students coming to Samoa for clinical rotations are advised to bring their own scrubs as this is the recommended dress code for medical students.
OUM does not provide health insurance but requires students traveling to Samoa to obtain an appropriate international health insurance policy in their country of residence. Upon acceptance, students traveling to the campus must provide proof of health insurance coverage with international benefits.