UNIVERSITY students from seven tribes across Taiwan encountered traditional Fijian living when they paid a visit to historical heritage site of Navala Village in the Ba Highlands.
Group spokeswoman Matilde Hong said the groundbreaking cultural exchange tour was organised with the iTaukei Affairs Ministry, USP, Executive Yuan's Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Taipei Ricci Institute.
The 15 students are representative of seven Taiwanese tribes — Paiwan, Amis, Bunun, Saisiat, Taroko, Rukai and Tau.
"Our aboriginal students shared their tribes' dances and songs with the Navala Village people. The visit has enabled students to gain first-hand knowledge and experience of culture, tourism development and economic policies concerning indigenous peoples," Ms Hong said.
"Our group aims to learn and share as much as possible about various development schemes and policies that can further indigenous culture and tourism which they can take back with them to Taiwan."
Ms Hong said the cultural exchange program was mutually beneficial because while the Fijian community learnt about Taiwanese culture, they would also take Fijian cultural traditions and knowledge back to Taiwan to share with students there.
"Not only do we hope that our group will take a lot back to Taiwan in terms of experience with Fijian people, we also hope to share Taiwan's aboriginal cultures and traditions with the groups we meet in Fiji.
"We sincerely hope this exchange will further facilitate future interactions and opportunities both for Taiwan and Fiji."