Dear Future Intern, 

I am writing to you from Fiji Islands!!! After finishing my internship with MSRI, I came back to Vancouver BC and left and came to Fiji where I will be spending the next seven weeks with my family <3. It is a surreal experience moving from country to country and taking flight to flight, but here I am, sitting on my mom’s house front porch, sipping my chai. 

Above photo: Me standing in front of my mom’s childhood home in Ba, Fiji Islands.

Firstly, congratulations on taking the first step toward this amazing journey. These next couple of months will fly by, and before you know it, you will get on the airplane to start your next chapter. So my biggest advice is to take it all in – all the nerves and excitement you are feeling right now, feel it all. Because before you know it, it will become a memory.  I can honestly tell you that over the past six months, I have laughed, I have smiled, I have cried, I have experienced every single emotion out there. And while this has been the most challenging and difficult six months of my life (so far), I would not change a single thing.

  1. Don’t be afraid. 

My biggest advice is not to be afraid. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and don’t be afraid to feel – the good and the bad; don’t be afraid to look or sound silly. Moving to a foreign country for six months is a scary thing to do, but the way that I see it is that you have six months to grow, learn and live. I remember reading some articles saying that to learn more about yourself to become your true self, you must leave the environment you grew up in – and what a perfect opportunity this internship is. Is it scary? 100%. And be scared, feel that emotion, but know that you do the most growing and learning when you are in discomfort; it’s when you realize the most. And that’s a thought I constantly had, and it helped me get through odd times.  

  1. Journal & Read 

I have journaled almost every day and have filled up almost 2 whole journals, and this is the biggest gift you can give to yourself. Save that boarding pass, train ticket, the random receipt from a lunch out with coworkers, doodle on every page no matter how bad you think it is, save the fortune cookie note, save all these small memories because it is the best thing to sit and flip through a book of small memories. 


I have never been a big reader, but moving to Malaysia, and mainly living with Brigitte has turned me into a bookworm. I have read a total of six books these past six months, and while that may not seem like a lot, I have not read a book since – who knows when. I found peace in reading every day but also reassurance as I read books about similar experiences to what I was going through. Over these past six months, I have made a connection to literature that I don’t think I would have ever done so living in Canada.

  1. Feel Everything 

Life is meant to have moments of happiness and excitement followed by guilt or grief. But the fear of feeling sad is something that should not hold you back; the fear of heartbreak should not let you fear falling in love. So enjoy every moment no matter how hard it may be because before you know it, you’ll be sitting in an RM65 Grab on your way to the airport, balling your eyes out, looking out the window, watching the sunset, and truly having a main character moment. And you’ll think to yourself self, “Wow- I actually have no idea what just happened,” and that’s okay. Don’t pressure yourself to have everything figured out, to have every feeling named, every life-changing experience written down or acknowledged.

You will find peace in the unknown

You will be displaced and feel unforgettable and not know what to do or what to say, and that, my friend, is the best part. Because you grow in discomfort. 

So, as i end this final blog post, I leave you with a passage from a random journal entry I wrote on my laptop : 

“I constantly think about how dynamic life is, how dynamic home is, and who we are as people. Nothing stays the same, no feeling is made to last forever, and no person is guaranteed forever in your life, so how do you enjoy life knowing that you will never get a moment back? How do you love every moment knowing that one day it will become a distant memory if you are lucky; otherwise, it becomes forgotten? So I take pictures, 5,345 to be exact. I journal almost every day, 2 filled books, and still, it does not feel like enough. I sit here writing, and I find my throat starts to close up, and tears form in my eyes that I quickly blink away. As if it’s embarrassing to feel this way.  And I still find it so difficult to grasp that you can love something so much but still have to walk away from it. 

You live every moment to the best of your ability. And this is probably the cheesiest Pinterest quote that I have ever supported, but it’s true. “


There is no guidebook on how to have the best internship. There are no set rules you must follow. This internship is yours. Make the most of it. Make it yours. And know that you are not doing this alone – you have a whole group of interns before you, you have your own group of interns, you the support of Robyn and your host organization and a whole bunch of people cheering you on. Please lean on and in to one another. That’s what we are here for. And welcome to the little capi family <3 

Wherever life takes you, wherever this adventure takes you – I wish you the very best. Live, laugh, love, slay the next chapter of your life wherever you may end up!  

Faaiza Vakil

Faaiza (left), Brigitte (Middle), Andrea (right) : At our going away lunch