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Virtual Placement (Think Pacific) - Public Health

Health Studies (Public Health) student on a virtual placement 

Rofiat Adesina took part in a virtual placement with Think Pacific during the Covid 19 pandemic as she was unable to travel. Travelling abroad as part of your degree can be an excellent experience, Rofiat enjoyed her experience virtually connecting with the Fijian Islands. 

Here is what she thought about her experience:  

Virtual experience

Rofiat virtual placement

“I got to know about the Think Pacific virtual internship from the BCU weekly career service emails and I decided to apply for this opportunity. I did not know anything about the Fiji Islands and I wasn’t that interested in going to Fiji either, but the most important thing that caught my attention about this international opportunity was the way Think Pacific contributes to the Fiji national developmental plan through grass-root projects. Being a Commonwealth Scholar, my desire to learn alongside my degree, how to make a meaningful and sustainable impact either locally in my home country or globally. I had plans to make use of such an opportunity to equip myself with what will be beneficial for my long term career goal (which involves establishing a charitable organisation in my home country). I choose this virtual internship because I viewed it as a venue to do something different from my academic degree during the national lockdown. Getting to know the program and a little bit more about Fiji, I became so interested and all I had to do was research about one Fiji NGO (Think Pacific partner organisation) I will be working with. After all, it isn’t a bad idea to also learn about new cultures during the COVID 19 pandemic."

Highlights

Although, the duration was short, I found the virtual internship with Think Pacific interesting. To me, it’s the best way (especially during this pandemic and people having to deal with the fear of travelling) to explore what local and international development is all about from the comfort of your home, contribute and gain professional skills that will be relevant after graduating from university. Particularly, I was fascinated by the different ways in which local charities and organisations are making efforts to bring about change and impact lives of other people within the Fiji Islands."

Differences in professional practice

"As this is a virtual internship, I could not really dwell much on this. However, many things about the Fijian culture surprised me while learning about Fiji and the Think Pacific partner organisation I interned with. I really fell in love with their concept of community."

Achievements

I gained a lot from taking part in this internship opportunity. Having this experience prepared me for what to expect as someone interested in running a social enterprise, while also building my confidence in taking up challenges and proffering suggestions for a solution. For instance, the action project I worked on involved developing a health and safety manual for Cure Kids Fiji, an organisation committed to reducing and eradicating rheumatic heart disease in the Fiji Islands. Of course, I have never done this before but taking up this task exposed me to the importance of occupational health safety within charitable organisations. Also, this internship offered me a chance to network with other interns and like-minded people who provided great mentorship.

The experience helped me gain insight into how social enterprise operates and I hope to apply all of this in my future endeavours. Having this experience is also a plus to my resume because an international work experience would count and probably increase my employability in my home country and chosen career path.

Lastly, I could say that I was equipped with both a new set of soft skills and hard skills which are necessary to successfully advance in my career. Through this internship, the most valuable soft skill I learned was how to use my initiative, trust my judgment when it comes to making decisions, and maintain good communication with others too."

Advice

My advice would be that students should dedicate enough time to maximise the entire opportunity and achieve what they plan to while on their internship. I would encourage students to make use of this opportunity to explore global diversity while developing new skills and achieving global impact from the comfort of their home. Every individual needs to contribute to make the world a better place for all. 

Since this was a virtual internship programme, the entire process was quite straight forward, and no stress attached."