By Katherine Harrell, ISA Fiji Site Specialist
It’s pretty well known that Fiji is a beautiful Pacific island nation with beaches and friendly locals. But here are a few things you probably didn’t know about Fiji:
1. In a traditional Fijian village, only the chief can wear a hat and sunglasses. As a sign of respect, villagers go bareheaded. While the Fijians are very welcoming, they will insist that you remove your hat and sunglasses when you visit.
2. Of the over 300 larger (at least, large enough to sustain human life) islands that make up the country of Fiji, only about 106 have inhabitants. The nation also has over 500 tiny islands that are much too small to be homes for any of the almost 900,000 inhabitants.
3. If you could pull together all those islands to form a single land mass, it would be a little smaller than the state of New Jersey.
4. The University of the South Pacific, along with its three campuses in Fiji, has ten other campuses in different countries around the region.
5. For the New Year, village women play a game called veicaqe moli, which means “kick the orange.” Similar to soccer, the game is played with a citrus fruit, and the winning team must present gifts of clothing to the losing team.
6. Like many island nations, Fiji moves at its own pace, often called “Fiji time.” The people of Fiji enjoy a relaxed, unhurried lifestyle, especially when compared to the pace of life in the United States.
7. You don’t have to worry about translations or language barriers—English is one of Fiji’s three official languages. The other two are Fijian and Hindu.
9. Fiji has a low cost of living, particularly compared to neighbors New Zealand and Australia, and caters to budget travelers with tons of low-cost accommodation options.
10. You can study business, engineering, social work, literature, history, biology, and a huge range of other subjects just a short drive from gorgeous beaches and lush rainforests.