As I flew into Nadi international airport on the morning of November 3rd, the sight of palm trees, crashing waves at the beach and people in colourful shirts quickly proved all my positive preconceptions correct. When my luggage still hadn’t arrived after 20 minutes of waiting, employees at the airport excused it as “Fiji time”. It was clear I had well and truly arrived in a different culture that was the complete opposite of my home country, Germany.
Upon arrival, my Frontier project leader guided me from Nadi airport to the capital, Suva. Though I was given the option to stay in a hostel near the city centre, I chose the more inclusive option of a homestay. After being welcomed with a Kava ceremony, the differences between Fiji and Germany were immediately noticeable. From the cold water to minor holes in the thin wooden walls, the Fijian lifestyle was less luxurious than my lifestyle back at home. This however, left me feeling very positive as it was the exact reason I had come; to allow for me to reflect on experiences different to those at home.
On my first day with the program, I was told by my instructor that I would be assigned to a shadowing role with The Fiji Times. Though I had not previously heard of The Fiji Times, I used my free time to research them in order to be prepared for my first day as an intern.
I arrived at 9 am on the 6th November, and walked through the spacious, open-plan offices of the accounting and printing departments to reach the editorial offices. I was welcomed thoroughly by my new colleagues and was set straight to work! After a quick meeting to discuss the day’s plan, I was sent out with one of the professional journalists to gain from her experience.
As we jumped into the news van, she told me about how Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama was holding a media event for the grand opening of a new drug and addiction facility in St. Giles mental hospital. Throughout the day I was given media access to the existing facilities to get a better idea of what the hospital does and what it looks like, as well being able to follow the Prime Minister through his tour. After a tiring and long day out, I happily concluded this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was a truly special experience, and it has made me even more excited of what is to come.
On the days following, I was assigned to various different teams, amongst which one was the sports team. Again, I was positively surprised by how much I was included in reporting daily news stories, as I was given access to the media areas of the Oceania Sevens Rugby tournament.
Though this is only the end of the first week of four that I will be spending in Fiji, I have already had exceptional experiences and have learnt more about the world of journalism. I am thankful for the organization by Frontier, as well as for the openness of The Fiji Times for including me in their day-to-day operations and news reports.