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Michelle’s Virtual Fiji Experience!

Firstly, I want to thank See Optometry for their generous sponsorship, which has allowed me to do this internship. Starting my first ever internship is nerve-wracking, to say the least, especially in a virtual format. But at the same time, it is an exciting new opportunity, that will allow me to gain professional experience and exposure to the type of work I could be doing in the future.

I’m lucky enough to be doing my internship with Think Pacific, a not-for-profit organisation located in Fiji. Since 2009, the organisation has had over 3000 volunteers to the Fiji Islands and works in direct partnership with the Fijian Government. The partnership strives to implement aims and initiatives set by the Fijian national Development Plan in rural communities across Fiji. However, due to COVID19 and the ban on international travel, these programs cannot occur in person, so Think Pacific’s virtual internship program was created.

What drew me to Think Pacific’s virtual internship, was the range of content and activities included in the program structure. I won’t only be working, but also engaging in webinars and online content, which will allow me to learn about Fiji’s way of life, culture, and sustainable development goals. These activities will be a huge benefit when I eventually choose which local organisation I want to partner with in Fiji and what action project I want to do. I’m hoping to select an organisation under the areas of international development, non-government organisation management or environment.

To support me throughout my journey, I have an appointed mentor who will be able to provide me with guidance and reassurance when I need it. I also have the vast support network of other interns from all around the world who are in the same boat as me. I hope to make new friends amongst these other interns and learn more about their countries and their cultures.

Finally, as part of the ‘discovery phase’ of my internship, I was told to come up with three goals as part of what I want to achieve from this experience, with the the first two goals relating to personal development and professional development. Initially, I struggled, and slowly but surely I came up with goals that I felt could be achievable in the 8-week timeframe, which would help me grow:

1. Find better ways to organize my internship and other priorities, which will improve my time management skills for the internship duration and future endeavours.

2. Use more initiative in the work that I do and stop double-checking everything with other people when I know what I am doing.

3. Adopt a more positive and healthier mindset when things don’t go how I want them to and learn coping mechanisms to support this mindset.

I can’t wait to share more of this journey with you soon!

Michelle

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