I did not expect my exchange in Fiji to be like it was. But when I think about it, I really didn’t have any expectations. I spent a lot of time deciding where to go for a year, and I have absolutely no regrets about choosing to spend that year in Suva. I had an amazing time at the University of the South Pacific.
I’m really glad that I went for two semesters. It gave me enough time to experience and embrace the culture, make friends with locals and internationals, see the country, get better at sailing, hiking and diving, AND learn in my classes.
Being able to share my experience with my dad, Kate, Katrina, Mary Ellen, Paul, Helenka and Lauren was great too. It’s nice to have what feels like two different lives fuse together.
The classes I took were really varied. I took 3 direct transfer courses, Human Resource Management, Marketing and Managerial Accounting. Human Resources was far worse than I would have gotten at SFU, but Accounting was a lot better. Marketing was about the same. I took two political science classes (Managing Change and Ethics & Professionalism) which were useful – I really got to learn about current issues in the public sector in the South Pacific and it made me really interested in foreign aid and international development. Working for the UN might be a goal in the near future! My Health Psychology lecturer, in terms of teaching ability, was the best professor I have ever had. And to finish up, I did both of my Science credits, Earth Science (not a fan) and Marine Biology (very interesting, learned a lot, but a difficult class for me).
There were great moments: Playing cards at the top of Mt Korobaba. Getting befriended at my first paddling practise. Getting yelled at by my hobie coach. Falling on every single hike. Diving for the first time. Meeting people in my lab classes. Diving in reefs that look better than pictures in the National Geographic. Drinking kava with my Marine Science class. Eating pizza every Tuesday night. Learning how to make palusami. Knowing everyone in the dance club on Thursday nights. Watching every possible movie. Watching rugby 7s with my entire hall. Eating curry for breakfast. Camping on the beach footsteps away from an expensive resort. Colo-I-Suva, every time. Menz from Bureta visiting in Suva. Night, shark and manta snorkelling in the Yasawas. Watching and screaming at any show, social or sports event. Celebrating Diwali for a month. Hanging out with the expats in Suva. Taking the bus by myself from Buca Bay to Savusavu. Standing on top of a sand dune. The incredible food and missing the incredible food back home. Giving up on umbrellas and raincoats.
I really look forward to seeing everyone I met again.