Answers to our Questionnaire for Visitors of Solomon Islands

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Sex? female
Profession/occupation? Medical Student
Home country? Australia
What made you want to go to Solomon Islands? Found the medical elective on a database
Did you go alone or in company? alone
Arriving in Solomon Islands
When did you arrive in Solomon Islands? August 2007
Did you encounter any bureaucratic difficulties? no
What was your first impression after arrival? The friendly locals were fantastic & gave me a lift into town after my transport didn't show up
Living in Solomon Islands
What did positively surprise you? The beauty of the outlying islands, the warmth friendliness of the locals
What did negatively surprise you? The relatively high cost of living, the high cost of Internet and phone calls
What took longest to get used to? The unreliability of the water, electricity and Internet services
What did you miss most in Solomon Islands? Good quality food, being able to speak to family overseas
What should you have brought along? More books, iPod Speakers, herbs/spices for cooking
What did you do to prevent malaria? Doxycycline, Insect Repellant, Bed nets
Place and province where you spent most of your time? Honiara, Honiara-City
Other places/provinces where you stayed? Gizo and Munda in the Western Province
Where did you stay? Guesthouse
How long did you stay at each location? 6 weeks
How much did you pay for each? AUD 20 - 30
Where did you usually eat? Self-catered
What did you typically pay for a normal meal? AUD 10
What local food/beverage did you like most? Good cheap food at the Yacht Club
What local food/beverage did you like least? Non-imported meat - the mince was crunchy!
Mobile phone services
If you brought along a mobile phone, which services did you successfully use? -
Comments? Telstra SIM card didn't work, so purchased a local SIM - able to make local/international calls but no SMS available.
Money matters
Used Commonwealth Bank debit card to get cash at ATMs
Used VISA credit card to get cash at ATMs
Comments? Exchange rate and commission cost quite a lot
Working in Solomon Islands
How did you usually go to work? walk, by bus
Where did you work? NRH, Emergency Department
What was your occupation? Medical Student
What were your working days and hours? Flexible, but best to arrive for ward round at 8:30am. Mostly stayed until 4 or 4:30pm with 1 hour lunch break
What was particularly difficult in regard to your work? Making sure patients were not forgotten, locating patients, fighting for beds so patients could be admitted
Did you feel accepted by the locals? yes
What did you usually do in your spare time after work? Went to the Honiara Hotel pool to cool down, dinners out with other students, excursions to nearby islands
Questions for medical trainees of all levels (students to registrars)
How was the supervision? adequate
Comments I found I was given more and more responsibility the longer I stayed. Ask for help if you're not sure about something.
How was the teaching? adequate
Comments The Wednesday morning lectures/meetings are well worth attending
Leaving Solomon Islands and looking back
When did you leave Solomon Islands? September 2007
How long was your stay? 7 weeks
How do you judge the length of your stay? too short
What did you learn from the locals? "Solomon Time" a relaxed approach to life, an appreciation of strong community ties
Your advice to prospective visitors? This is not for the first-time traveller as the unreliability of services can be frustrating and isolating.
What did you miss most when back at home again? The spirited, upbeat locals and the laid-back islander way of life
What did you enjoy most when back at home again? Hot showers, good food, airconditioning
Would you go back for another stay? Anytime!
Estimated total cost of your stay (including travel costs)? AUD 3,500
Additional comments?

Accommodation/Food/Scuba diving will cost you quite a lot more than lonely planet suggests so consider this when budgeting (about AUD$650 for a PADI open water course), as will trips out of Honiara.

The ferry from Honiara to Gizo takes up to 12 hours and can be rough, hot and very uncomfortable - if you can afford it fly!

The Solomon Islands is such a beautiful place and untouched by mass tourism. The islands outside of Honiara are a must-see. At first glance Honiara seems dirty and lacking in charm, however give it a chance as it definitely grows on you.

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