Fiji may be a small country but it is a tourism powerhouse. Being on an archipelago has its advantages, which include pristine beaches and secluded islets. It’s no wonder this tiny South Pacific nation gets its fair share of international students looking to spend time studying the flora and fauna of the world’s largest ocean, and the geography of some truly gorgeous islands. Take a closer look at what makes studying abroad in Fiji a great choice.
Swim Till You Drop
Studying in an island nation certainly has advantages, and one is the ability to hit the sand and sea almost every day. Fiji is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Mamanucas, a group of islands west of Nadi (the third-largest region of the Fijian archipelago) offers crystal-clear waters and wide sandy beaches. Monuriki, an island in the Mamanucas group, is the picturesque place where Tom Hanks’ character is marooned in the film Cast Away (not to be confused with the Castaway Island Resort in nearby Qalito Island).
Yasawa, an island group in western Fiji, is also a popular tourist destination and is home to several of Fij’s best-known beaches. Yasawa Island, the northernmost island in the group, boasts beaches with strong waves, perfect for surfers. For a more quiet location fit for relaxation, check out the Oarsmans Bay Lodge on Nacula Island, also in the Yasawa Group. It has a wonderful beach with waters emptying into a deep, peaceful lagoon.
Spend More Time Outside
At 86-89 degrees Fahrenheit almost the entire year, Fiji is ideal for those who love spending days in the sun’s rays. If you’re studying abroad in Fiji from May to October, the temperature can drop a good 20-25 degrees, so those more accustomed to cooler climates might want to consider summer study in Fiji.
The Sweet Life
Days and nights in Fiji are slow and laid back. You will never feel pressured to move fast while studying abroad in Fiji. This doesn’t mean you should slack off on your studies; it just means you are encouraged to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of the archipelago while you learn. Explore every aspect of Fijian culture, which is a thrilling mix of indigenous Fijian, Indian, Chinese, and European traditions and beliefs.
Public holidays are celebrated to the extreme in Fiji. Take, for instance, New Year’s Day. In different parts of the world, it’s a one-day affair. In Fiji, however, New Year's Day becomes New Year’s Week or even Month! The celebrations are marked with drum beating and fireworks, and capped with a large street party in the heart of Suva, the capital city. Those spending a fall semester abroad in Fiji will be there just in time to celebrate Fiji Day. This important holiday actually falls over several days leading up to Oct. 10, commemorates Fiji’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1970.
No Language Barrier
English is widely spoken in Fiji, as one of three official languages along with Fijian and Fiji Hindi. Being understood is never an issue while you are studying in Fiji. Having no language barrier hampering communication is also great for haggling in the local markets for souvenirs to take home.
Fijian cuisine today is very different from that in pre-Colonial times, when the natives practiced cannibalism (!). Some food traditions, however, have weathered the ages nicely, like the preparation of food in earth ovens (a fire lit in a stone-lined pit in the ground). Food cooked in these ovens include palusami, taro leaves drenched in a mix of onions and coconut milk.