Fiji – fun & eye-opening

Audrey Dalton-Power reflects on her experiences in Fiji as a 2019 New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholar.

Audrey is studying a Bachelor of Community Development at Victoria University (VU). After winning the NCP Scholarship, she embarked on a semester-long exchange at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and an internship with Oxfam in Fiji.

Studying at USP

The University of the South Pacific (USP) provided a perfect base for studying political science, as Suva is a hotspot for Pacific politics and development. My lecturers were from within the region and all over the world, so my education was diverse and delivered by experts in the field.

The local Fijian and regional students were lots of fun and a lively bunch.

I can’t recommend enough spending time getting to know people in your class and those who live in your dorms – they’ll become awesome friends.

The international students that you’ll be hanging out with will also be a group you become close to during your time here. Between sitting in the beautiful USP campus studying (it's like a nature park) and hanging out at coffee shops with friends, you get to spend a good amount of time exploring the local islands, rainforests (lots of waterfalls) and backpacker resorts, meeting heaps of interesting folk.

Life in Fiji

My time in Fiji was unreal. Fiji is a hidden gem. If you’re lucky enough to make some good friends, you might be welcomed to family events and kava sessions. This will be the highlight of your time and an invaluable experience. Fijians celebrate with a lot of laughter, food and dancing, singing and great conversation. It’s an absolute treat.

Fiji isn’t just beautiful beaches and jungles, it’s also a place with rich history and knowledge. The Pacific plays an important role in climate change politics and the survival of indigenous culture. I can’t recommend enough getting to know our neighbours and making the Pacific’s knowledge part of our own.

A word of advice

Alongside the fun of being in another part of the world, studying in Fiji is engaging and eye-opening. Often when we only spend time at home, we miss out on the important perspectives and experiences of those in different countries. Whether you’re studying politics, gender issues, environmentalism, sport, development or law, you’re going to learn something here that you wouldn’t have learnt at home, especially if you’re listening well to those who are advocating and teaching here.