This is taken from a podcast, where our Nutrition Co-ordinator is interviewing one of IVI’s volunteers in Fiji.
Can you tell me a little bit about why you decided to come volunteering with IVI?
“Yeah, well I was just looking in my break, I guess between Uni, to have a bit more experience, maybe abroad. I knew that in Australia volunteering is really hard to find, and they sort of want you to stick with them for the rest of your life! So, I’d thought that I’d go to Fiji, which I just found online, to see what experience I could get after Uni, because I haven’t finished studying yet. So it’s been really good!”
And what are you studying to be right now?
“I am studying dietetics, so everything to do with nutrition. I hope to go on to private practice, but who knows! I need to get the experience before that!
What did you learn coming to Fiji? What sort of things surprised you?
“I think their lifestyle surprised me the most. The whole, ‘everything’s chill, everything’s fine’ and adjusting to that. I’m a pretty punctual, reliable, on time person, so coming here was a definite change! But I think I’ve learnt to adapt, and that’s a skill, I guess.”
She’s on Fiji time now! Throw your watch out the window believe me! And what skills have you learnt while you’re here?
“Well, I had no idea how to do manual BP, so blood pressure, glucose test, even though I learnt a lot about that in Uni, I’d never learnt how to take any. So that’s a really good skill to have, especially clinically. And yeh, just how to talk to people as well, talk in a more simple language to what I am used to, has also been really good to learn.”
I think simplifying stuff is a skill we can take back with us to Australia as well.
“Exactly, there’s a lot of different populations and people we have to cater to, so I think it’s very important.”
Awesome. What’s been your biggest take-away that you think you’ll go back to Australia with from this experience?
“I think my biggest takeaway would be that if you speak to a person the right way, they will be open to your advice, because they understand what you’re saying. So even here, I’ve learnt that Fijians are actually very open to advice. They’re sort of like “Oh! I didn’t know that; I’ll try and do that”. I think you just have to learn how to get your message across.”
What advice would you have for anyone thinking of doing any sort of volunteering in Fiji?
“If you’re thinking about it, I would just do it! You don’t need to have any very special skills, if you have an interest in health or anything like that. Just do it because you’ll learn on the spot and you’ll learn pretty quick.”
Do you think you grow as a person as well?
“Definitely! I think I’ve learnt so much, especially being with the other volunteers as well. They’ve got other skills that they bring to the table. Also being with people who are older than me, who have more experience, clinically as well. That’s been really good.”
Thank you so much for being on podcast Marina, you’re a legend and I’ve really loved having you on our team!
“Thanks for having me, it’s been great!”
Find out more about this project: Nutrition & Public Health Fiji