Office of Attorney General, Samoa
By Fulisia Saleueile
Talofa Brothers and Sisters,
Fulisia Saleuesile (Sia) and I hail from the beautiful island of Samoa. In 2005 I left Samoa to embark on my journey as a Political Science student at BYU–Hawaii. It was during this time that I was given the amazing opportunity to undertake an internship program with the Office of the Attorney General in Samoa. At the outset, it became apparent that my internship application would face several hurdles – the biggest being the fact that I was not a law student. Furthermore, the government of Samoa did not collaborate with BYU–Hawaii and the Attorney General’s Office had never recruited American based students before. Despite these difficulties, I firmly believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, my application was accepted and I returned to Samoa to begin a new phase of my educational journey.
My work at the Attorney General’s Office mainly involved three departments – civil, criminal and legislative drafting. However, due to my predilection for civil matters I was assigned to work closest with that department. Here, I helped to research several civil cases that were on foot and later went on to become successful. I was also assigned to personally assist a visiting Australian legal consultant responsible for preparing a Law and Justice Sector Plan for Samoa. Tasks I undertook for this project included liaising with judges, Ministry CEO’s and prominent members of the Samoan community. I also helped to organize the first Steering Committee meeting of the Law and Justice Sector.
The work was challenging and with no legal background I had to rely on my biggest asset – researching. Fortunately, a major focus of the Political Science department at BYU–Hawaii is on “research skills”. Through my studies, I had already amassed ample knowledge in this area to confidently carry out the necessary research tasks required of me. Suffice it to say that the foundational learning I had received from BYU-H enabled me to make the most of my internship.
Overall, my internship was extraordinary and a true blessing. I returned to Hawaii armed with new knowledge, skills and a clearer vision as to my career aspirations and went on to complete my degree. I hope my story will inspire more students to explore their options in terms of internship opportunities. Not only will it be an experience of a lifetime, it will enrich you both personally and educationally.