Empower Pacific

Empower Pacific

Empower Pacific is a Fijian NGO which seeks to enhance the full potential of communities by working in partnership with the Fijian government and other community agencies to ensure a holistic model of professional health service.

The organisation offers a variety of programs aimed at enhancing the health and well being of our clients as well as facilitating opportunities for learning, income generation and personal growth.

For more info see the Empower Pacific website.

Activities focus on Empower Pacific's counselling services and analysing the progress and impact of their community awareness programs. Previous activities have provided PACE students with experience in:

  • Social Research
  • Health Promotion/Policy
  • Statistical analysis
  • Working with young people
  • Monitoring & Evaluation

Accommodation: Students stay in a 4-star hotel with Western-style facilities, located on the Lautoka Waterfront. Breakfast is included and there are laundry services available as well as two pools on-site. The accommodation is also a 5 minute walk to the Lautoka city centre and the major shopping centre which houses a number of restuarants, grocery stores, clothing stores and a cinema. This accommodation is a shared accommodation with 2 people per room.

Activity Timing*: Winter Vacation (June - July)

Activity length: 4 weeks

PACE Units*: PSYU3399

*Please note: unit availability, timing and activities are dependent on partner needs and are subject to change. Not all units are offered each session.

Location and highlights 

Empower Pacific is located in Lautoka, the second largest city in Fiji and approximately 30 minutes from Nadi - the tourist hub of Fiji. Nadi is the gateway to explore the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands where episodes of Survivor have been filmed as well as the movie Castaway. Lautoka is home to Fiji's second largest food market and annual events include the July Farmers Fest and the Sugar Festival in September.

Previous Activities


Students conducted research on community awareness sessions in Fiji for violence against women, sexual and gender based violence and child abuse campaigns. Through their work, students provided Empower with evidence to further develop and improve their community awareness outreach. Along with recommendations for project changes, with the aim to increase the community's knowledge and awareness of services and actions to be taken regarding violence and abuse.

Students conducted research, analysis and survey design for youth suicide and suicide prevention. This activity included a field trip to remote Fijian villages to observe and implement the survey in collaboration with these communities.

This decision reflects a similar decision that has been made in respect to Macquarie International student travel.

This means that all PACE International in-country activities (including student-nominated activities) in Session 1 and Winter Vacation will need to be cancelled.

Our students’ health and safety is our primary concern at PACE International.

We understand this news will be quite disappointing and some of you may have queries or concerns regarding your unit enrolment.  Please contact our teams at PACE International, or your appropriate Faculty, if you would like to discuss this further.


PACE International applications are open to all currently enrolled students at Macquarie University. To be eligible you must:

  • Have completed one session at Macquarie University
  • Be enrolled – or eligible to enrol - in a PACE unit as listed in the Partner search on the PACE International website
  • Hold a Weighted Average Mark (WAM) on or above 60* (LAWS units require a LAWS WAM of 70* or above).
  • Be assessed as suitable using the PACE International Selection Criteria

* If you do not hold the minimum required WAM you can apply for special consideration in your application form.

Please note that placements are allocated based on number of places available at the partner organisation, students’ skill set, student preferences and unit requirements. While we aim to place all eligible students, some placements are very limited, and applications will be considered competitively. Please also note that activities and partners are subject to change.

In assessing your suitability, PACE International will review all components of your application including your application form, academic transcript, CV, and referee report. We may also seek advice from your home Faculty, Student Wellbeing, and/or Macquarie International.

If your WAM is under 60 (or under 70 for LAWS), or if your transcript lists Academic Caution or Disciplinary Issues, you will need to complete a special consideration form alongside your application to provide further information.

In some cases, we may require additional information to properly consider your suitability and may invite you to either submit additional supporting documents or to attend an interview with PACE International staff.

Before I apply

  • Use the PACE International Partner Search to learn more about our opportunities
  • Receive academic advice to see how a PACE International activity will fit into your degree
  • Check you meet the eligibility requirements
  • View the PACE International information session online or visit one of our drop-in sessions
  • Read through the Application Top Tips for advice on submitting your best application
  • Review the Example Application Form to plan how you will answer application questions
  • Refer to the Ethical Volunteering Guide for more information about ethical community engagement and how PACE International works internationally.

How do I apply?

  • Submit an online application form during the key opening dates and apply through the Current Opportunities page.
  • Select your preferences for host organisations (if applicable). Please research our partner organisations before you apply.
  • Attach to your online application a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV), your academic transcript and the contact details of your referee

An automatic reference check will be sent to your referee on submission of your application. Once you have submitted your application, you will be notified via email on the outcome of your application.

Application Timing

SessionApplicationsOverseas Activity
Winter VacationFebruaryJune-July (4 weeks)
Session 2AprilSeptember (2-4 weeks)
Session 3JulyJanuary (4-12 weeks)

Activity Cost

PACE International managed activities incur an activity cost. The Activity Cost is dependent on the location, work requirements, time frame and duration of your activity. Additional costs, not included in your activity cost, are paid for directly by you. Financial support is available through grant funding.

  • Accommodation
  • Pre-departure training
  • In-country orientation
  • In-country management
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance for activity duration
  • Field trips
  • International airfares
  • Visa (where applicable)
  • National Police Checks
  • Unit tuition
  • Vaccinations (where applicable)
  • New/renewed passport (where applicable)Personal travel insurance and all related expenses for personal travel and leisure activities
  • Incidental living and travel costs (e.g laundry, transport, souvenirs)

Funding options

There are a range of funding options available to assist you with the associated costs of a PACE International activity. For more information on eligibility and application requirements see the Funding tab on the PACE International website.

Contact us

Email: paceinternational@mq.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 9850 4473
Instagram: @mqpace

Make an appointment or attend a drop-in session: If you would like to speak to a PACE International staff member, please email us at paceinternational@mq.edu.au.

Student experiences - Alexia Newsome

What do you study and where did you go on your PACE International activity?

I’m studying a Bachelor of Psychology, and I completed my PSY399 research internship in Fiji with Empower Pacific.

What was your role or project at your host organisation?

In a research team of five, we collaborated to design, develop and implement the mixed-method research tools required to assess the effectiveness of Empower Pacific’s community education program that aimed to prevent violence against women, sexual-based violence and child abuse. We traveled to rural provinces across the west coast collecting data; interviewing local women to discuss their experiences.  At the end of our placement, we presented Empower Pacific with our key findings in an extensive research report and oral presentation

What attracted you to the PACE International program?

Initially it was the idea that I could complete my placement and travel to a new country at the same time. I was really excited about expanding my insular understandings of Psychology to an intercultural context; gaining an idea of what the application of my degree (or research in general) would look like beyond a local setting.

What advice would you give a student who is thinking of applying for a PACE International activity?

EAT! Everything and anything you’re offered. On a more serious note - focus on the connections you make. The best part about PACE was leaving my placement behind having made deep and meaningful friendships with the locals, especially with our co-workers.

What was the best part of your PACE International experience?

My experience with PACE gave me the opportunity to realise the potential I have as an individual to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Returning home knowing that I personally contributed to the incredible work that Empower Pacific does (in engendering community capacity to prevent and act on cases of violence against women and children) was the absolute highlight of my placement.

Student experiences - Gracie Hay

"PACE International was such an incredible experience. For the first time in my degree I was given practical responsibility that I was able to use to support a community in need. It was incredible to see how the skills we have learnt at university can be translated into real world work that changes lives." –  Gracie Hay

Student experiences - Rachel Begg

"Working with Empower Pacific in Fiji was an absolutely incredible experience. I can’t imagine a more pleasant, selfless organisation to work with, and to have developed a survey that will continue to help them and the Fijian community into the future is an absolute privilege. I never expected to have a PSY399 placement that would have such a direct positive impact on individuals and communities! I know that the experience has left me a more thoughtful, well-rounded person, and I’m sure it will continue to impact my future academic and career direction for years to come." – Rachel Begg

Student experiences - Haydee Katz

“My PACE international experience was truly something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. Not only did I get to make friends of a lifetime, but I got to work with an organisation that is doing such inspiring work in the field I am so passionate in (Psychology). It was just so rewarding to be able to not only work with such an incredible organisation, but even more so, to contribute to improving mental health in a country that was just struck by a natural disaster. I would recommend anyone and everyone to give PACE international a go - I couldn’t have asked for a better placement experience.” –Haydee Katz

Student experiences - Melissa Panetta

“I went to Fiji and did not know what to expect, my expectations were exceeded in almost every shape and form. Exercising my psychological skills, in a cross-cultural context enabled me to do what I love but also caused me to think about think in much more flexible ways that my theoretical and practical knowledge did not prepare me for. ” –Melissa Panetta

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