Returning home is not always easy for New Zealand Scholars, who often encounter and experience completely different lifestyles while completing their studies.
However, for Summer Intern Sevefaiga Manu, reintegrating into the Samoan way of life has been made less challenging by completing a 10-week internship with the NZ High Commission in Samoa.
Sevefaiga is part of the 2016-2017 cohort of NZ Scholars who took part in Pacific Cooperation Foundation’s (PCF) Summer Internship initiative, which places scholars at various host agencies throughout NZ – and now within the region.
The 21-year-old student, who recently completed her Bachelor of Criminal Justice degree at the University of Canterbury, is the first Summer Intern to be hosted by a regional agency.
Having been away from Samoa for three years, Sevefaiga has not had a lot to do with her home country in terms of its political and business matters, she says.
“Doing a Summer Internship in my home country has provided a way for me to reintegrate into Samoa, and learn about what is happening in society, while contributing to the success of the country in whatever way possible,” Sevefaiga says.
During the 10-week internship, which started in January 2017, Sevefaiga has been working with the Development Team of Coordinators at the High Commission.
Her duties have included attending meetings with Chief Executive Officers of some ministries, and other high profile employers, and providing briefings for those meetings.
She has also prepared briefs for both public and private sectors in Samoa, which has involved a lot of research and a lot of learning, she adds.
There have been some challenges during the Summer Internship but Sevefaiga has learnt practice makes perfect, and by observing how her colleagues operate, she has learnt various methods to overcome any challenges faced.
“Obviously, work life is very different from university and it has been a bit of a struggle to get used to this new environment,” she explains.
With just one week of her internship remaining, meeting deadlines, communicating with high profile people, and balancing work and personal priorities now come much easier for Sevefaiga.
On reflection, she can see how much she has learnt, and the new skills she has gained such as professionalism and improved communication.
“I am excited I was able to get a taste of work life in Samoa and the best part has been the networking … I’ve learnt the more people you know, the easy your job is.”
As she starts the process of job hunting, Sevefaiga believes she is well prepared to enter the workforce in Samoa having taken part in the Summer Internship initiative.
“This internship has helped me greatly to prepare for a future job … it has been a good way to experience what work life in Samoa is like and it has prepared me well to actually engage in the workforce.”
Applications are now open for the 2017-2018 Summer Internship initiative.
Visit http://pcf.org.nz/summer-internships/ for more information.