Fiji's culture will likely be very different to that of most expats' home countries. Fijians are generally friendly and hospitable. Foreigners have been known to attract some unwanted attention from curious locals in rural areas, but this is mostly harmless and should be handled with good grace.
As is always the case for expats moving to a new country, new arrivals in Fiji will have to get to grips with hearing a new language and being exposed to local traditions and culinary delicacies. That said, the most significant elements of culture shock in Fiji will likely stem from religion and politics.
Religion in Fiji
Fiji has a highly religious culture, and there are churches of various denominations throughout the archipelago. Over half of Fiji's population is Christian, with the Methodist Church commanding the largest congregation, followed by the Catholic Church.
Expats who do not hold strong religious beliefs will need to be careful not to offend local Fijians. It's also important to dress modestly, keeping shoulders and knees covered. This is especially necessary when visiting religious sites or traditional villages.
Politics in Fiji
Recent Fijian history has been dominated by a number of military coups, the most recent of which happened in December 2006. In 2013, a new constitution was introduced, and general elections were held in 2014. While the country is considered stable, expats are advised to stay away from any political protests or demonstrations that may occur.
Time in Fiji
Expats new to the archipelago may notice that there is little urgency when it comes to time – Fijians will regularly turn up late, both for meetings and social events. In Fiji, this is not considered rude but is simply a part of the culture.
►Safety in Fiji provides useful tips for new expats moving to the islands
"The cost of living was higher than I expected. I wrote an article about how I haven't experienced culture shock but I've definitely experienced culture wonder. Jump on my blog to check it out!"
Read more about Australian expat Emma's experiences in Suva, Fiji.
Are you an expat living in Fiji?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Fiji. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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