High Commissioner Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia hosted Samoan students to a reception at the weekend.
The reception was also the first official ‘Feiloaiga’ between the students and the High Commissioner since he presented his credentials to the President of Fiji on 5 March, 2021.
The High Commissioner, a University of the South Pacific alumnus, in his remarks, reminded the students that educational opportunities are rare to come by – hence the need to utilise them optimally to build a solid foundation for a future career.
University education provides a level playing field and an environment dedicated to a student’s success where the student is in charge of shaping his/her own future, no one else. Being on scholarship is a privilege and should therefore not be squandered.
He encouraged the students to think of the High Commission as their home away from home and their first place of call to share both the highs and lows of their educational journeys, mindful of the challenges associated in being away from home.
Taito Louis Lene, Student Counsellor provided an update on Samoan students in Fiji.
A total of 84 Samoan students are registered at USP Laucala Campus and Fiji National University respectively for Semester 1, 2021.
Students at USP totalled 74, of which 54 of are sponsored and 20 are private students.
The other 10 students attend the FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) in Suva.
A key component of the ‘Feiloaiga’ was the introductions by each of over 60 students who were able to attend the event, then followed by a lively ‘Fa’afiafiaga Fa’asamoa’ by the USP Samoa 4th Year cohort.
To cap off the evening, the President of the FNU Samoa Students Association Jarred Lameko spoke on behalf of Samoan students in Fiji to thank the High Commissioner and the High Commission Office for the ‘Feiloaiga’ and for hosting them to the dinner reception.
The event was timely and a welcoming opportunity for many of the students who were not able to visit families in Samoa since they arrived in 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
And for the USP students in particular, it was a fitting way to start their one-week mid-semester break.
Photo source Government Media Caption: Samoan students studying in Fiji at a reception hosted by the newly appointed High Commissioner Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia