Budding Linguist Is A Village Boy At Heart

14 Apr, 2022

Wainibuka lad Waisake Raliwalala, who hails from the Naituvatuvavatu, Wainibuka, in the province of Tailevu is one of six children and is the second youngest of the family. For much of his life, Waisake lived in the western part of Fiji, raised around the Sabeto area in the township of Nadi.

Waisake attended Vuda District School from classes 1 to 4 and then moved on to Gurukul Primary School for the next level of primary school from classes 5 to 8. He later attended Pandit Vishnu Deo Memorial College for his secondary education from the years 9 to 13. In 2017, he moved to Suva to enrol at the University of the South Pacific, for the four-year Bachelor of Arts & Graduate Certificate in Education programme, which he successfully completed within a three and half year window.

“I sacrificed my school summer breaks to attend the distance or flexi learning classes, so whenever a Geography or Education unit was offered, I would register for it with the goal of finishing off my degree early”, Waisake said. Unsurprisingly so by September 2020, this diligent and industrious Wainibuka lad graduated, earlier than expected.

Another achievement for Waisake was that early last year he was one of the first students selected for the Post Graduate Diploma in Fijian Studies programme which he has since completed and will be graduating in May this year.

A village boy at heart, Waisake looks back with gratitude as he reflects that as he was growing up, his father would normally take him to family or village gatherings.

“My father wanted me to be aware of our culture and traditions, our roles and so forth”, he said. “I got exposed to traditional and cultural protocols and mannerisms from very early on and now as an adult, I see a lot of value in that and I appreciate it very much”, he continued.

Waisake has always had a passion for teaching, so much so that he volunteered as a teaching assistant throughout the later years of his tertiary studies, culminating with a temporary teaching role on the island of Koro in late 2021.

“I have so much passion for teaching and helping children to become better persons and great leaders of tomorrow. Maybe because I was inspired by my own primary teachers growing up which has also motivated me to become a teacher and help children with whatever they aspire to be”.

Waisake was recently appointed as a Teaching Assistant at the University of the South Pacific’s Fijian Language Studies department. A role that has brought him an inch closer to his career goal as an academic in linguistics and language.

“I like that I am helping young students learn about something as intrinsically close to us as language. In some ways, it’s the heart and soul of an individual,” he adds.

He has aspirations to further his language studies and hopes to acquire a doctorate degree in the area at some stage of his career in the future. Not something beyond his reach and we will be following this Wainibuka lad’s progress with keen interest over the years.

About the Fijian Language Studies programme

The iTaukei Trust Fund Board sponsors the Fijian Language Studies programme at the University of the South Pacific. In 2021, the new Post-Graduate Diploma in Fijian Studies was launched of which five have successfully completed and will be graduating this year. Over the last ten years, TTFB has sponsored two sets of cohorts from the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and Ministry of Education in studying their Diploma in Fijian Language Studies.

Wainibuka lad Waisake Raliwalala, who hails from the Naituvatuvavatu, Wainibuka, in the province of Tailevu.