An emerging focus of teacher education courses within countries such as Australia centres on the development of cultural competency. An international practicum experience or student mobility programme embedded within pre-service teacher education programmes is one way to provide such an opportunity. In subject areas such as Health and Physical Education (HPE) this is of particular relevance given the nature of teachable subject content relating to the impact of culture on the lives of young people in contemporary societies. This article examines the perceived value of an international sports-based field experience in assisting to develop HPE pre-service teachers’ cultural competency. In partnership with the Pacific in Union (PiU) Rugby for Schools initiative, 12 HPE pre-service teachers from an Australian regional university were linked with local schools in Western Samoa and required to facilitate a three-week sports-based, health and physical activity programme. The programme is referred to as the Samoa Sports Outreach Programme (SSOP). This qualitative study utilised the cultural competence model inclusive of knowledge, values and skills to explore the perceptions of pre-service teachers in relation to their involvement in the SSOP. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Findings indicated that the international field experience provided positive support towards HPE pre-service teachers’ development of cultural competence, increased students’ awareness of cultural beliefs and values outside of their individual belief system and assisted students to develop a repertoire of skills needed to work more effectively as professionals in transcultural contexts.