Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean. The country comprises an archipelago of more than 332 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets. Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island realm due to an abundance of forest, mineral and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports.
Fiji, officially known as “The Republic of Fiji” is an island country. Located Northeast of New Zealand, Fiji’s nearest neighbors are Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Kermadec and the Samoas. The archipelago that comprises Fiji includes over 330 individual islands, over 100 of which have permanent inhabitants, giving the country plenty of beachfront space. The islands themselves are thought by many experts to have formed over 100 million years ago as the result of volcanic activity. However, today the volcanos are largely dormant. Despite its island culture, Fiji is one of the most developed countries in the South Pacific because of the abundance of natural resources and opportunities for tourism to flourish in the area.
Essential Facts about Fiji
- The capital of Fiji and its largest city is Suava.
- The Fijians are generally very hospitable towards tourists and those visiting the country for work or school.
- England’s Queen (or King) is bestowed the honorific “Paramount Chief of the Great Council of Chiefs of Fiji”.
- The country sees nearly 500,000 tourists from around the world each year.
- Fiji is ethnically diverse. While 57 percent of the population is of Melanesian descent, 37 percent have an Indian heritage and the remaining percent is a melting pot of all cultures.
- While Fiji has 28 airports, only a few have paved runways and can handle traffic from larger planes.
- The total of all land in Fiji is smaller than the state of New Jersey in the United States.
- The highest point in Fiji is the 4,344-foot Mt. Tomanivi.
- Over three quarters of the 883,000 people who call Fiji home live on the largest island of Viti Levu.
- Surrounding Fiji is over 4,000 sq. miles of coral reef and other marine life. This includes the famed Great Astrolabe Reef.
The climate in Fiji is perfect for those who enjoy adventures in the great outdoors. The maximum temperature throughout the year generally averages between 78 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes Fiji a great place to enjoy the beaches and pools, winter and summer! Visiting Fiji between late March until the earliest part of December will generally offer you the most sunny weather and the warmest temperatures. November to April is when you will experience the wet season—though this can be beautiful in its own way.
The currency of Fiji is the Fijian dollar, the standard dollar sign ($) or the abbreviation FJ$ is used to distinguish it from other dollars. Those familiar with the currency in the United States or Canada will find Fijian currency easy to understand. Each dollar is divided into 100 cents. There are coins ranging from 1 cent to $1.00. Bills are available in $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Most of the bills printed today, with the exception of special commemorative bills, feature England’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Today, Christianity is the largest religion in Fiji with over 55% of residents practicing—most of those are Methodist or Roman Catholic. However, even today over 33% of Fijians, many with an Indian heritage practice some form of Hindu. The remaining percentage of Fijians practice some other type of religion. It is interesting to note that there is relatively large Muslim population in Fiji as well.
Study in Fiji
Higher Education in Fiji
Higher education in Fiji is an excellent option for many students. The official language of Fiji is English, making it a great choice for students that want an international experience but who do not know a foreign language. Despite the English language, the culture is varied and students from the world over will find they have a rich educational experience while in the country.
The Fiji Higher Education Commission offers these reasons why an international student may choose to study abroad in the country:
Quality of education is monitored by the Higher Education Promulgation
- Course fees are competitive when compared to other similar nations.
- Many popular course are offered.
- Research facilities are available for graduate students.
- University housing is available as well as other housing choices.
- English is the main language in major universities.
- Fijian people are friendly towards visiting students.
- Students have the opportunity to study with a vast mixture of other cultures.
Popular Universities in Fiji
There are a number of options as far as Universities are concerned. The largest higher education institution in Fiji is Fiji National University. It is a large college made up of 33 campuses around the country. There is a staff of over 1800 members and enrollment has soared above 20,000. This university allows you access to over 30 programs including medicine, technology and agriculture. There are several other smaller schools in the country, and Fiji is a very internet-savvy country, so student can take courses online from schools around the world.
The fees for tuition in Fiji vary depending on the type of degree the student seeks. In general the cost is a bit higher for international students than it is for students who live in Fiji. That being said, the costs are often comparable with education in countries such as the United States or Canada. Many students may qualify for scholarships from the schools themselves or from independent organizations. Students may also qualify for reduced rates when they pledge to remain in Fiji and work in certain needed industries.
Eligibility for Study Visas
To be eligible to obtain a Fijian study visa, potential students must follow the requirements outlined by the Fiji department of Immigration. These are granted on a case by case basis and there may be a fee assessed. More information can be found on the Fiji Immigration website.
Why Study in Fiji?
Though there may be some costs associated with international students who want to pursue higher education in Fiji, the country has a great reputation as far as educational quality. Additionally, the diverse culture and beautiful surroundings provide a great atmosphere for learning as well as an interesting and dynamic life experience.