Bula! My name is Athanasia and I just graduated with Education and Psychology degree.
I’ve spent the months just before Covid-19 planning and preparing for my upcoming summer trip to the Fiji Islands. I was going to do a mental health placement with Think Pacific, a not-for-profit organisation focused on improving every aspect of life for the Fijians living in remote rural areas. Apparently, my plans changed. Instead of experiencing Fijian life I was back home trying to find ways to spend my time. One day I received an email from Study Abroad team informing me about available virtual internships and as soon as I read TP’s internship I wanted to take part. So, I applied and after completing a short phone interview my place was confirmed.
My virtual journey started on the 20th July and lasted for approximately two months. The whole purpose of this virtual internship was to partner up with local Fijian organisations, start-ups, Fijian Ministries and more to help them achieve their goals by completing an ‘action project’ for the selected partner. One of the most challenging things for me in this internship was to choose the organisation I had to work for, as TP offered a great selection of partners from different fields, ranging from environment to NGO management to psychology. The great thing was that you were able to select any project you liked regardless your abilities and knowledge. Thus at first I wanted to choose a field I didn’t have experience with so I can acquire new knowledge. However, my passion won and I ended up working in the field of psychology for an organisation called Youth Champs 4 Mental Health. My goal was to develop social media content plan and create content that would help prevent youth suicides. The internship was consisted from webinars, guest speakers, and virtual coffees with interns and skills workshops. One of my worries before I started my internship was how we could be immersed to Fijian culture without being there. TP gave an answer to that as they managed to transfer every bit of a Fijian culture as much as they could, from teaching us a Fijian word every word to watching live Fijian cooking. I feel a lot more prepared now for when I’ll join TP in an actual expedition.
I would encourage anyone to start a virtual internship and especially an internship with Think Pacific as you can gain valuable skills. I am really grateful for Think Pacific team as they were always there to listen, understand and help you with any problem. I consider this internship as an incredible way to get experience, develop your skills, and increase your employability while at the same time you create sustainable change for Fijian people and their communities.
Vinaka vakalevu to Southampton University Study Abroad team for offering me a £350 scholarship in order to take part in this internship.