Bula! My name is Alyssa, I’ve just finished my second year of my BSc Environmental Science. During the pandemic, I struggled to find work experience/internships that could help improve my employability and make some real difference in the world; then I found the ThinkPacific virtual internship! I chose to take part in the 12-week internship, so I could fit it around my part-time job and university studies- which worked fantastically in the end!
The internship was broken down into 5 phases: Discovery, discussion (This is ongoing throughout the internship), decide, design, and deliver. At the start of the internship, we were taught the importance of goals, and were encouraged to set out our SMART Goals for the internship, of what we would like to achieve from our experience, this was very motivational and increased my self-confidence- it felt amazing to tick them off at the end and produce a piece of work I was so proud of. Here’s how it worked:
The Discovery Phase
This was all about learning in the first 3 weeks. This included building knowledge and appreciation for Fijian culture and history, our internship specific field in Fijian context and getting used to the platforms they use to deliver (Slack, google calendar and an online portal, in case you wondered!). This phase was especially interesting, I absolutely loved learning about the intricate culture and the environment. I attended a lot of talks across the 3-week phase from a huge variety of guests, and investigated the different specific internship fields to make sure I was happy with my choice; there is something for everyone!
The Decide Phase
In the 4th-6th week, I began looking at the different action projects I could work on, and the difficulties that Fijian organisations face when trying to take steps towards sustainable development. I decided to choose an action project for the Climate Change & International Cooperation Division for the Fijian Ministry of Economy- ‘Increasing public awareness on the National Ocean Policy’. The fantastic thing about the action project is that you can make it entirely unique, if it meets the criteria! I chose to incorporate 2 fields, environment and women’s rights, as I learnt a lot about the poor treatment of many women in Fiji. My final project was ‘Increasing public awareness with a focus on women in the community’. It was incredibly powerful to complete and I truly feel my professional report writing skills have grown from the experience.
The Design Phase
This begins the creation of your project. It took a lot of research and time to make sure I was happy with my project, but with lots of support from my mentor and lots of virtual coffees with the other students on my internship really motivated me and helped me produce a final project I was proud of.
The Deliver Phase
Finally, I produced my 5-10 minute presentation briefly going through my project for the Climate Change and International Cooperation Division that will be submitted with my project. We had a super helpful workshop giving us advice on how to deliver an effective presentation which improved my confidence, especially as someone who isn’t always comfortable doing presentations!
My Action Project Sneak Peek!
After a bittersweet debrief and goodbye to the amazing ThinkPacific team and all the other mentees I met, my internship was complete and now I just await my feedback on my project! A huge thanks to my mentor Laisa, the ThinkPacific team and the Southampton Study Abroad team for this fantastic opportunity, I hugely improved my LinkedIn connections and learnt from people across the world. Vinaka!