GLOBAL HEALTH INTERNSHIP
The central aspect of this program is immersion in a traditional village in rural, remote Fiji. In this setting, students are far-away from the accustomed comforts of life characterizing the developed world. Students must embrace this very basic way of life as they are “adopted” as a member of a Fijian family and community. This traditional way of life presents challenges that require patience, resilience, and commitment to apply/developing cultural understanding, competency, and humility. Clearly, this unique educational journey and adventure is not for everyone! Think eating meals on mats on the floor, bucket showers, pit toilets, eating an unfamiliar diet, etc!
This program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn through experience indigenous Fijian culture from members of the village. Young adults from the village teach you critical aspects of their customs, values, lifestyles, and traditions. Examples of topics that students will be taught include: lovo (traditional method of cooking), farming, local fishing practices, origin stories and local history, Meke (traditional dance), Vucu (traditional song), handcrafts, and weaving. Students will participate hands-on in these traditions and activities.
Each weekday morning, students contribute to the sustainable development of the village by participating in a project. Students pick one of the following projects: 1) youth empowerment, 2) mental health promotion, or 3) community building development (building a village health center). These projects, founded on a unique local approach, are organized and coordinated by local NGOs and the Fijian government. This sets up a unique cultural exchange between the villagers and the students, where the students and villagers engage in grassroots discussions on topics relevant to all young people today. Students returning from this experience will have gained critical cultural understanding, appreciation for cultural differences, increased resourcefulness/resilience, greater understanding of global development issues, and increased self-awareness. This program is in partnership with Think Pacific, a United Kingdom-based organization devoted to improving the development of Fijian communities. You can learn more by visiting www.byuglobalhealth.org and www.thinkpacific.com.
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