My Think Pacific Internship

Ni sa bula! That was just one of the few Fijian phrases I picked up whilst taking part in my Think Pacific virtual internship. For anyone that isn’t familiar nis a bula is a welcome greeting in Fiji, and is phrase I encountered on my very first day at my internship.

I decided to enrol in the Think Pacific virtual  internship when I was approached by my university (Bournemouth University). Their postgraduate fund allowed me to apply for the internship without the worry of financial commitments, which often deters people from taking part internships. I initially wanted to complete the Think Pacific internship because I thought I would gain experience in the nutrition and public health sector. I was starting to look for full-time jobs and it became clear that experience was needed to gain entry to these roles, however there was limited opportunities to be involved in projects in the UK, so this seemed like the right choice. I did not expect to learn so many other skills that would also enhance my employability.  

Doing a virtual internship, I did not expect to learn so much about Fijian culture, but the weekly culture sessions that were delivered were so informative, that you felt like you took a little bit of Fiji away with you, even if you were sat in your living room in rainy UK. I learnt all about fashion, dance, language and so many other aspects that make Fiji such an amazing place.

Another aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed about the internship, that I wasn’t really expecting, was the sustainability module. I am someone who is constantly trying to change the way I live to be more sustainable, so to be able to complete a sustainability module was so interesting. I learnt all about sustainability on a global scale, how we are trying to overcome climate change with agreements such as the Paris Agreement, and even what we need to do in the future with initiatives such as carbon offsetting. All of this knowledge I don’t think I would acquire if it was not for this internship.

My action project was a huge learning curve for me, but it was so rewarding. My mentor Liz was great at supporting me the whole way through my action project, and gave me the push to choose a more challenging project. As I was completing my MSc in Nutrition and Behaviour at Bournemouth University, I wanted to use the knowledge I had learnt to help people with type two diabetes in Fiji. I chose Diabetes Fiji for my action project, as the work they continually do to support the rising type two diabetes rates is fantastic. I chose to create a report for my action project as I had not previously created a statistical report of this nature before, and I wanted to push myself to learn new skills.

My action project saw me collate data from organisations such as the WHO, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Diabetes UK, and many more. The statistics I gathered and presented in my report enriched my understanding of diabetes, and informed  me of how future government policy and health campaigns should be conducted in order to reduce rising type two diabetes.

The biggest challenge that I encountered while doing this internship was time management. I started this internship when I was working part-time, and was also a full-time student at Bournemouth University. As my internship progressed I also secured my first full-time nutrition role, as well as moved to London. All of this ate away massively at the time I had to perform the internship, and made it feel overwhelming at times. Lucky for me, not only was my mentor very understanding and would suggest different meeting dates to fit with my schedule, but Think Pacific also provided me with the opportunity to do a brilliant time management course. The skills I learnt in this course helped me complete the internship on time, and will also help me in mu future career.

If I was able to redo the internship I would have probably chosen to participate more in the social aspects of the internship. Think Pacific provided so many networking opportunities, with zoom meetings, virtual coffee mornings and even virtual campfires! There was so many ways to connect with people, and in hindsight I would have done more of that!

Ni sa bula! That was just one of the few Fijian phrases I picked up whilst taking part in my Think Pacific virtual internship. For anyone that isn’t familiar nis a bula is a welcome greeting in Fiji, and is phrase I encountered on my very first day at my internship.

Doing a virtual internship, I did not expect to learn so much about Fijian culture, but the weekly culture sessions were so informative, that you felt like you took a little bit of Fiji away with you. I learnt all about fashion, dance, language and so many other aspects that make Fiji such an amazing place.

The sustainability module also was something I enjoyed learning. I am someone who is constantly trying to change the way I live to be more sustainable, so to be able to complete a sustainability module was so interesting. I learnt all about sustainability on a global scale, how we are trying to overcome climate change with agreements such as the Paris Agreement, and even what we need to do in the future with initiatives such as carbon offsetting.

My action project was a huge learning curve, but it was so rewarding. My mentor Liz was great at supporting me the whole way through my action project, and gave me the push to choose a more challenging project. As I was completing my MSc in Nutrition and Behaviour at Bournemouth University, I wanted to use my knowledge to help people with type two diabetes in Fiji. Diabetes Fiji seemed like the perfect fit for my action project, as the work they continually do to support the rising type two diabetes rates is fantastic. I created a report and presentation as part of my action project, and this will later be used to inform the practice of Diabetes Fiji.

My biggest challenge was time management. Throughout my internship I have been a full-time student, secured my first full-time job, as well as moved to London. All of this ate away massively at the time I had to perform the internship. Lucky for me, not only was my mentor very understanding, but Think Pacific also ran a brilliant time management course. The skills I learnt in this course helped me complete the internship on time, and will also help me in my future career.

I would like to say a big Vinaka (thank you) to those at Think Pacific and Diabetes Fiji!  I would also like to thank Bournemouth University, as without their postgraduate grant, I would not have been able to do the internship with Think Pacific.

I thoroughly recommend others to take part in the Think Pacific virtual internship, it may not have the sun, but you will learn a wealth of knowledge without even having to leave your bedroom!

4 thoughts on “My Think Pacific Internship

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience Beth! Sounds like you have really enjoyed it and gained a lot from this project! As a future MSc student, it was nice to read about your project and perhaps think for the available options. Thank you again, Adriana.

    Liked by 1 person

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