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How my exercise and sports science degree booked me a ticket to a tropical paradise

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Written by Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science alumna Jade Rider

When I first applied to study a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science (CRICOS 080641D) at Bond, I was a Year 12 student stuck in a COVID-19 lockdown with no idea what career I wanted to pursue. Little did I know that in just over two years I would be on a plane travelling over the Pacific to the little city of Honiara, where I would spend a month as an intern with the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sport (SINIS).

How did I get here?

I definitely asked myself this on multiple occasions, especially when I was sitting seaside at some of the most stunning beaches I’d ever seen! But, in all seriousness, it was thanks to Bond’s existing relationship with SINIS, as well as funding from the Australian Government as a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient. This initiative looks to increase awareness and understanding of the Indo-Pacific region amongst Australian undergraduate students, one of which I was lucky enough to be. I officially began this experience in January 2022, where I worked remotely from my laptop for 8 months while communicating with SINIS staff via emails and Zoom calls. Once August rolled around it was time for the real deal, and I was on my way to meet the people I had only ever interacted with through my computer screen.

What did I get to do?

A group of people standing in a gym listening to a woman with blonde hair speak

When I commenced my internship, preparation was already well underway for the 2023 Pacific Games, which are due to be held in November in Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands. My primary role involved working alongside the Talent Identification and Development (TID) department, which aimed to identify potential athletes from across the country and bring them into SINIS to train on scholarships.

While I was working remotely, I assisted with developing databases for analysing athlete test results, creating sport specific training programs for scholarship athletes, and conducting online education sessions for local staff. Once I arrived in the country, I was lucky enough to conduct TID testing with hundreds of schoolchildren who were invited to the SINIS facility. I was also given the opportunity to adopt a mentoring role, where I got to use what I have learnt during my degree to help staff as they worked to build the skills necessary to work effectively within a high-performance sport environment.

What did I learn?

I got asked this question a lot when I first returned to the Gold Coast. If you had asked me before I left what I thought I would learn, I would have expected it would revolve around some incredible new sports science knowledge and skills, and it did. I definitely gained invaluable insights and experience from working with high-performance athletes and coaches, but my greatest learning experiences actually stemmed from what I had learnt about myself, and the cultural experiences I had along the way.

Here are a few traits I cultivated during my time in the Solomon Islands.


Living in Honiara taught me how to be incredibly patient with myself. At first, I found myself getting quite frustrated as I constantly felt I was saying and doing things that made it obvious I was ‘the new girl’. It took time, but I slowly learnt to be patient with myself as I absorbed knowledge and gained an understanding of the practices at SINIS. I had to remind myself that I was working through cultural and language barriers that I had never encountered before, so it was okay if I didn’t know how to approach every situation perfectly.


Working with SINIS allowed me to apply what I have learnt in my exercise and sports science degree in a practical setting, teaching and mentoring local staff and athletes. When I began to apply my knowledge in a national high-performance environment, and this was respected by the people around me, I found more confidence in my skills. Once I returned to Australia, I was consequently more willing to apply myself, and engaged in new opportunities with much less apprehension.


Being away from my family and friends for a month would have been much more of a challenge if I hadn’t been welcomed with open arms by the Solomon Islands community. Selflessness and giving are so deeply ingrained into the Pacific culture that it was second nature for everyone around me to be helpful and considerate. With people constantly checking up on me, thanking me for my work, and even giving me gifts, I felt very at home. This showed me the importance of showing appreciation for others, and of celebrating even the smallest achievements, as this can go a long way towards improving someone’s day.

My advice for students going on a remote placement

A small hut in front of lush green trees and grass

The remote placement experience is like no other, and it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few tips I have for students considering this unique opportunity.

Take some time to research

This may sound like a no-brainer, but I suggest you try to get to know a bit about the place you’re heading before you get there. While you don’t need to know everything, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a thing or two to make your life a bit easier once you get there. This may involve learning a few common phrases in the local language, searching where the closest places to grab groceries are, or even just looking for activities you can do when you have time off. Having said that, you will learn the most about local life once you’re on the ground at your placement location, so go easy on yourself!

Once there, get involved as much as possible

And here I am with no-brainer number two: don’t shy away from new experiences. You’re only on placement for a limited amount of time, and it will fly by, so try to make the most of every opportunity you have. You don’t want to leave with regrets because you let nerves get in the way of exploring the local culture and environment. I was lucky enough to be supported by an incredible group of people who would offer to take me along on all of their adventures, and I made sure to never turn them down. This meant I left the Solomon Islands feeling like I had seen and done as much as I possibly could.

Be prepared to spend a lot of time with yourself

Despite having amazing opportunities to explore your placement location, you’ll probably have more downtime than you think. This is especially true if you have travelled abroad solo, and if you’re in an area like I was, where you aren’t able to just venture into the street whenever you feel like it. If this is the case, you may want to bring some things along to entertain yourself. In Honiara I didn’t have the best internet, so watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram wasn’t an option. I instead occupied myself by doing a whole lot of reading and writing. It’s important that you find your own thing to fill your spare time, but also to help ground you, as this will also give you a way to unwind from all of the stresses that come with travelling to, and living in, a brand-new environment.

Remote and rural industry placements are offered in a number of programs within the Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine, including exercise and sports science, medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and nutrition and dietetic practice. 

Your career starts here

Explore the Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science. 


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